Probably the biggest thing I feel like I’ve been missing out on by starting medical school in a global pandemic is gross anatomy lab. Working with donors to learn about the structure and function of various parts of the body is almost like a right-of-passage for being a medical student. Fortunately for us though, we live in the 21st century and modern technology allows us to get as close as we can (if not closer) to a live dissection. We have access to 3D models of actual donors as well as virtual models that let us work with a “living” body. Plus our instructors have videos of them performing the dissections that we would be doing ourselves so that we could see what it would be like, minus all (most) of the human error.
What’s so amazing to me about watching these prosections is seeing how chaotic the tissue appears. There’s muscles, nerves, fat, etc. going every which way and its hard to make sense of it all just by looking at it. But the more closely you look, the more patterns appear, and the more organized it all seems. Not just organized, but in some cases it seems almost ingeniously so. Then beyond that, learning about embryology and how all these complex structures came to be where they are at starting from a single cell. It truly is awesome.