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Clin Anat. 2017 May;30(4):452-460. doi: 10.1002/ca.22864. Epub 2017 Mar 25.

Integrating ultrasound into modern medical curricula.

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Department of Anatomy and Medical Imaging, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Medical Anatomy Center, Department of Medical Anatomy, COMP-Northwest Western University of Health Sciences, Lebanon, Oregon.
Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery, General Surgery, and Sports Medicine, Samaritan Health Services, Corvallis, Oregon.


Ultrasonography is widely practiced in many disciplines. It is becoming increasingly important to design well-structured curricula to introduce imaging to students during medical school. This review aims to analyze the literature for evidence of how ultrasonography has been incorporated into anatomy education in medical school curricula worldwide. A literature search was conducted using multiple databases with the keywords: "Ultrasound OR Ultrasonographic examination*" and "Medical student* OR Undergraduate teaching* OR Medical education*" and "Anatomy* OR Living anatomy* OR Real-time anatomy.*" This review found that ultrasound curricula vary in stage of implementation, course length, number of sessions offered to students as well as staffing and additional course components. Most courses consisted of didactic lectures supplemented with demonstration sessions and/or hands-on ultrasound scanning sessions. The stage of course implementation tended to depend on the aim of the course; introductory courses were offered earlier in a student's career. Most courses improved student confidence and exam performance, and more junior students tended to benefit more from learning anatomy with ultrasound guidance rather than learning clinical examination skills. Students tended to prefer smaller groups when learning ultrasound to get more access to using the machines themselves. Ultrasonography is an important skill, which should be taught to medical students early in their careers as it facilitates anatomical education and is clinically relevant, though further objective research required to support the use of ultrasound education as a tool to improve clinical examination skills in medical students. Clin. Anat. 30:452-460, 2017.


anatomy; education; medical curriculum; medical student; ultrasound

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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