Fall Semester 2020 - Virtual Gross Anatomy Lab, Seriously?

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Jul 17, 2019
4
4
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Dental Student
Hi all, I'm about to start my D1 Fall Semester and like many dental schools, my school has decided (wisely) to do the right thing and hold classes virtually. We were told that they'd worked really hard reconfiguring the how D1 year so that hands-on labs won't be missed. But it appears that the entire gross anatomy lab, something that I value and that I think is important for anyone wishing to become a future dental surgeon, is going virtual. We will be the first class in the history of the school that does not do gross anatomy.

I'm perplexed and saddened that I will not be performing anatomical dissection? Does anyone have any thoughts about this?
 
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Blueshirts

5+ Year Member
May 3, 2014
383
328
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Dental Student
Having had both in person then transition to online, in person is clearly superior; on that note, our school/anatomy lab has graciously offered us the opportunity to attend viewings throughout the spring semester as the cadavers are dissected so that we aren’t saddled with a big education gap, maybe you and some classmates can get together and suggest to your school officials that they would allow something similar.
 
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MGA100

2+ Year Member
May 22, 2018
92
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Dental Student
I think schools should present the option for students who want in person gross dissection, or maybe allow them to join in on medical school dissections if they are close by. I get that they want to protect faculty, but students are basically paying for the faculty to be there and should have the right to vote on in person or remote.
 
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ndentista

2+ Year Member
Apr 19, 2016
43
49
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Pre-Dental
I honestly kinda wish this was an option for my school. I’m not really comfortable with spending hours of time with classmates in labs even with masks because I live with very high risk people, but I definitely see the benefits of learning in person. Although it sucks that we’re gonna have a odd first year, they’re ultimately making the decisions for the safety of the students and health is the most important thing.
 

nounours_l0l

2+ Year Member
Sep 30, 2015
65
30
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Dental Student
But it appears that the entire gross anatomy lab, something that I value and that I think is important for anyone wishing to become a future dental surgeon, is going virtual.
Dude.. it won't make a difference in the end. most school don't even have gross anatomy lab and they are not better or worse OMFS, IF you even specialize in the end.
 
Jul 17, 2019
4
4
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Dental Student
I
Dude.. it won't make a difference in the end. most school don't even have gross anatomy lab and they are not better or worse OMFS, IF you even specialize in the end.
Every school that I applied to had gross anatomy, so let's agree to disagree with your premise about the curriculum design of most schools. I also don't think you can be an amazing OMFS without doing a single practiced incision, and you have to start somewhere. I think the argument is that dissection is really important for learning the feel of tissue for some folks as well, and that for others who are more abstract/theoretically-minded it's an experience laden with intense symbolic and emotional resonance. It makes the training very real. I had the privilege of visiting a cadaver lab while in art school, and it's one I will never forget. So I'm just mourning this loss, before I move on and face the drinking-from-a-fire-hydrant of work ahead. And I'm connecting it with the responsibility of keeping the pandemic in check. Everything else about virtual training doesn't faze me at all, but this surprisingly does, and maybe others feel the same way. So I appreciate everyone's thoughts and feedback and hope everyone has a great Fall semester.
 
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bmack

5+ Year Member
May 4, 2015
36
16
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Pre-Dental
You are not going to learn practical oral surgery technique through your experience in gross anatomy, those skills will come when you are doing surgical procedures in oral surgery and perio. Working with fixated tissue is very different from working with tissue in live patients, the feel will come with practice in live patients. Gross anatomy dissection was a great experience for learning anatomy, and it is an experience I would not have traded for virtual experience if given the choice, but I certainly wouldn't go so far as to say you will not be able to become a competent oral surgeon without physical dissection.
 
Dec 2, 2019
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25
Cadaver dissection is less glamorous than it seems.

I agree with @bmack in that gross anatomy dissection was a fantastic experience, but claiming that one cannot be "an amazing OMFS" without pre-doctoral cadaver experience seems a little misguided.
I think the argument is that dissection is really important for learning the feel of tissue for some folks as well
I have been told by our anatomy professors, several who are practicing MD surgeons, how differently dead tissue feels from living tissue.
...and that for others who are more abstract/theoretically-minded it's an experience laden with intense symbolic and emotional resonance. It makes the training very real.
I can understand this thought, and I do sympathize... but for perspective, consider how stressed D3/4 students must be at the moment. In my opinion, D1 students are the least affected by COVID.
 

Bodhi4092

10+ Year Member
Mar 4, 2008
100
36
Mid Atlantic
Status
Dentist
I’m with the crowd that say don’t worry about it even if you want to be an OMFS.
I’d say 90% of my anatomy learning was in the library and from videos, 10% learning on actual cadavers. And I even went back and did pre-dissection for the med school for a summer job. You’ll live without a semester of formaldehyde.

It’s disappointing to miss out on the “tradition” of it but not essential now. Human anatomy has stayed the same for thousands of years but they didn’t discover germ theory or antibiotics until the last couple centuries. Anatomy was the only thing they knew they were teaching correctly. That’s why anatomy is such a cornerstone of medical education. There’s so much more pharm, micro, path, etc that we know now to teach.

Like the above poster said, cutting dead tissue is far different from live tissue. Just like drilling ivorine teeth are way different than extracted teeth and different from a live patient. There’s always pig jaws to practice on for actual surgical techniques and CE courses.
 

clark5013

2+ Year Member
Jan 12, 2017
62
50
while you may want the experience of going to gross lab, you're really not missing anything. Having cadavers is not going to make you a better DDS or future surgeon than someone that didn't. there is literally no correlation. All the dentistry and surgery you need will be done on live people in their mouths, and sawing peoples skull in half or peeling their skin to reveal the underneath muscle layers doesn't translate to dentistry, at all.

gross anatomy can easily be learnt without cadavers, and most of your learning will be outside of the lab anyways. And especially during times of a pandemic, the health and safety of your fellow classmates, faculty and who they come in contact with, is far more important than going to gross lab.
 

Gordo014

2+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2017
35
37
Status
Dental Student
I'm with everyone else. I'm hoping to go into OMFS and had virtual anatomy labs this past spring and it really didn't make a difference for me. Most of my learning was done via anki and videos anyway.

It'd be beneficial to ask faculty to view dissections in small groups or on an individual basis once or twice, but it's really not something to stress about
 
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