Original Publication
Open Access

A Fresh Frozen Cadaver Procedure Laboratory

Published: August 29, 2008 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.794

Included in this publication:

  • User Guide.doc
  • R1 Workshop Objective.doc
  • R2 Workshop Objective.doc
  • R3 Workshop Objective.doc
  • Supplies Needed.xls
  • Arthrocentesis Checklist Knee.doc
  • Central Line-IJ Checklist.doc
  • Central Line-Fem Checklist.doc
  • Central Line-SC Checklist.doc
  • Cricothyrotomy Checklist.doc
  • Intubation Checklist Oral.doc
  • IO Checklist.doc
  • LP Checklist.doc
  • Pericardiocentesis Checklist.doc
  • Tube Thoracostomy Checklist.doc
  • Cadaver Procedure Lab Feedback Form.doc
  • Procedure Competency Evaluation Form.xls
  • Procedure List.doc
  • Faculty Invitation Letter.doc
  • R1 Invitation Letter.doc
  • R2 Invitation Letter.doc
  • R3 Inviation Letter.doc
  • Cadaver Lab Bibliography.doc
  • Instructor's Guide.doc

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Introduction: Certifying boards, such as the American Board of Emergency Medicine, mandate that its candidates be taught, and demonstrate competence in, the performance of certain diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. There is no mandate on how to accomplish this and much controversy over the best method. In response, we created a lab using fresh frozen cadavers to teach procedural skills. Methods: During this 4-day (2 days in June, 2 days in July) lab, first-, second-, and third-year emergency medicine residents practice supervised procedures suitable to their level of training. Trainees are invited to the session with level-specific objectives and provided a checklist with the procedure steps and expected completion time, upon which they are evaluated. This publication includes a description of the lab set-up and list of supplies needed to facilitate this session. Each procedure includes a role-play of the resident obtaining informed consent and has the resident list indications and contraindications. The bulk of the time is spent on one-on-one supervision of the resident performing the procedure with atlases and procedure texts at each cadaver for real-time reference. Results: Formally solicited feedback from 100% of participants, both residents and faculty, has been unanimously positive and has helped us create the final refined process. Discussion: Scheduling instruction and evaluation during controlled workshops with a set curriculum and objective evaluation criteria on realistic, unembalmed cadavers allows for predictability, consistency, reproducibility, and thoroughness, providing a framework on which to document competence. The curriculum maximizes the use of resources, including the cadavers themselves, supplies, lab space, and learner and faculty time, and can be adapted to any number of learners in any discipline.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this session, learners will be able to:

  1. Describe the indications for, and contraindications to, performing residency year-specific procedures.
  2. Describe the risks and benefits of those procedures while obtaining informed consent from a patient during a role play.
  3. Describe the materials necessary to perform the procedures.
  4. Perform the procedures with proper technique within the stated time limits on a human cadaver.
  5. Verbalize all landmarks and rationale for their actions.

Author Information

  • Frank Messina, MD: Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Lee Wilbur, MD: Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Edward Bartkus, MD: Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Dylan Cooper, MD: Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Gretchen Huffman, BA: Indiana University School of Medicine

None to report.

None to report.


Messina F, Wilbur L, Bartkus E, Cooper D, Huffman G. A fresh frozen cadaver procedure laboratory. MedEdPORTAL. 2008;4:794. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.794