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Anat Sci Educ. 2010 Nov-Dec;3(6):318-22. doi: 10.1002/ase.180. Epub 2010 Sep 24.

Undergraduate student perceptions of the use of ultrasonography in the study of "living anatomy".

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Melbourne, Australia.


Ultrasonography is a noninvasive imaging modality, and modern ultrasound machines are portable, inexpensive (relative to other imaging modalities), and user friendly. The aim of this study was to explore student perceptions of the use of ultrasound to teach "living anatomy". A module utilizing transthoracic echocardiography was developed and presented to undergraduate medical, science, and dental students at a time they were learning cardiac anatomy as part of their curriculum. Relevant cardiac anatomy was explored on a student volunteer and images were projected in real-time to all students via an AV projection system. Students were asked to complete a questionnaire about the learning experience and were given the opportunity to provide open feedback. The students' evaluations of this learning experience were very positive. They agreed or strongly agreed that it was an effective way to teach anatomy (90% medical; 77% dental; 100% science) and that it was incorporated in a way that promoted reinforcement of the lecture material (83% medical; 76% dental; 100% science). They agreed or strongly agreed with statements that the experience was innovative (93% medical; 92% dental; 100% science) and stimulated interest in the subject matter (86% medical; 75% dental; 96% science), and that they would like to see more modules, exploring other anatomical sites, incorporated into the curricula (83% medical; 72% dental; 100% science). We believe that ultrasound could be a useful tool, in conjunction with traditional teaching methods, to reinforce the learning of anatomy of a variety of different undergraduate student groups.

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