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Gynecol Oncol. 2009 Jun;113(3):352-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2009.02.012. Epub 2009 Mar 17.

Dissection of soft-preserved cadavers in the training of gynaecological oncologists: report of the first UK workshop.

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Division of Gynaecological Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St George's Hospital and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.



To assess the surgical anatomy knowledge of gynaecological oncology (GO) trainees and to evaluate the impact of a cadaveric dissection course on postgraduate surgical training.


An intensive 3-day cadaveric dissection course with illustrated lectures and supervised dissection, with a multiple-choice questionnaire (MCQ) on surgical anatomy at the beginning and end of the course was organised in the Anatomy Facility of a London Medical School. Each cadaver was embalmed with a mixture of alcohol, phenol and glycerol ("soft-preserved") rather than fixed in formalin, to more closely preserve in vivo conditions of the body. There were ten dissecting delegates, two per cadaver. The delegates dissected the abdomen and pelvis with the emphasis on surgical approaches rather than the classical descriptive anatomy approaches. Delegates also completed a course evaluation.


Without negative marking, the mean initial MCQ score was 57%, and final mean score 64%. With negative marking, the mean initial score was 43%, and mean final score 53%. Delegates rated the course highly, would recommend it to other trainees and considered that such a course should be incorporated into subspecialty training.


The surgical anatomy knowledge of subspecialty trainees was weak but improved as a result of the dissection course. The most positive finding was the course evaluation. Postgraduate surgical training in GO would likely be enhanced by, and arguably requires, cadaveric dissection. "Soft-preserved" rather than formalin-fixed cadavers should be used.

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