Gross anatomy

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Gross anatomy (also called topographical anatomy) is the study of anatomy at the visible (macroscopic) level.

Techniques of study[edit]

Gross anatomy is studied using both invasive and noninvasive methods with the goal of obtaining information about the macroscopic structure and organization of organs and organ systems. Among the most common methods of study is dissection, in which the corpse of an animal or a human cadaver is surgically opened and its organs studied. Endoscopy, in which a video camera-equipped instrument is inserted through a small incision in the subject, may be used to explore the internal organs and other structures of living animals. The anatomy of the circulatory system in a living animal may be studied noninvasively via angiography, a technique in which blood vessels are visualized after being injected with an opaque dye. Other means of study include radiological techniques of imaging, such as X-ray and MRI.

In education[edit]

Most doctoral health profession schools, such as medical and dental schools, require that students complete a practical (dissection) course in gross human anatomy. Such courses aim to educate students in basic human anatomy and seek to establish anatomical landmarks that may later be used to aid medical diagnosis. Many schools provide students with cadavers for investigation by dissection, aided by dissection manuals, as well as cadaveric atlases (e.g. Netter's, Rohen's). Medical schools have implemented on-screen anatomical lessons and tutorials to teach students surgical procedures. The use of technological visual aids and gross dissection are more effective together than either approach alone.[1] Recently, online flashcards and quizzes[2] have been used as well. Working intimately with a cadaver during a gross anatomy course captures the essence of the patient-provider relationship. [3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marker, David; Juluru, Krishna (2012). "Strategic Improvements for Gross Anatomy Web-Based Teaching". Anatomy Research International. 2012: 9. 
  2. ^ " - review human anatomy in pictures". 
  3. ^ Aziz, M. Ashraf; Mckenzie, James C.; Wilson, James S.; Cowie, Robert J.; Ayeni, Sylvanus A.; Dunn, Barbara K. (15 February 2002). "The human cadaver in the age of biomedical informatics". The Anatomical Record. 269 (1): 20–32. doi:10.1002/ar.10046. 


  • Standring, Susan (2008) Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice, 39th Edition