Problem-based anatomy for surgical residents

Curr Surg. 2000 Jul 1;57(4):377-380. doi: 10.1016/s0149-7944(00)00255-5.


Graduating medical students who enter surgery residencies frequently have limited anatomic experiences during their undergraduate training. Throughout the 5 years of surgical training residents are exposed to the anatomy as it relates to the operative procedures performed. Frequently, however, many of the complex anatomic areas of the body escape the experience of a surgery resident in training. The American Board of Surgery requires that surgeons have comprehensive experience with problems located in the head and neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis, and extremities. In an effort to provide an experience in the critical anatomic areas, the Michigan State University (MSU) Integrated General Surgery Residency developed a problem-based anatomy course that focuses on some of the most difficult anatomic areas in which surgeons are expected to provide lifesaving procedures.A program was developed that would present a series of clinical scenarios focusing on critical anatomic approaches and related structures in the head and neck, thorax, abdomen, pelvis, perineum, upper extremity, and lower extremity. The program involved 61 individual clinical scenarios, each requiring specific dissections. The course is directed by a surgeon and anatomist, with the discussion focused entirely on surgical approaches, related anatomic structures, and the options of therapy. The course has been taught for 4 years with great success. The program is now being extended to all affiliated general surgery residencies in the MSU system.A problem-based anatomy course has been developed that addresses many of the complex anatomic areas in which surgeons are expected to provide safe operative intervention. A problem-based approach has provided opportunities for surgical residents to consider operative approaches necessary to perform procedures in a safe, competent manner. The success of this approach would lend credence to expanding its utility to other specialties and even medical student training. (Curr Surg 57:377-380. Copyright 2000 by the Association of Program Directors in Surgery.)