Virtual cadaver to help Edinburgh anatomy students

MEDICAL students will soon be assisted in their studies by a virtual cadaver.

Dr Gordon Findlater says the new technology has received positive reviews so far. Picture: Neil Hanna

Edinburgh University’s anatomy school has acquired the hi-tech teaching tool which will allow medical and anatomy students to investigate the human body by “virtually” dissecting it.

Developed by a US company using CT scans, the Anatomage Table shows the full-size male and female form from front to back.

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Unlike the dissection of a real cadaver, students can add or remove organs, veins, arteries, nerves or tissue by simply touching the table.

Gordon Findlater, Professor of Translational Anatomy, said: “The beauty of the Anatomage Table is that you can rotate and view the body in all three planes in a unique 3D experience.

“Although it will never, I believe, replace the experience of dissecting and handling a real cadaver, it will allow students to handle a virtual cadaver without all the legislation that accompanies the use of real cadavers. So far we have received a lot of good feedback from the students and surgeons who have tested it out.”

Researchers say personalised scans can be imported to the device, which can then be recreated into virtual cadavers and used in specific teaching packages.

The university said the Anatomage Table will be introduced into teaching sessions “where appropriate” and there are plans to put it on public display.