Computer-Based Dissection Manual (CBDM) of the Upper Extremity

Publication ID Published Volume
9065 January 3, 2012 7


This resource is an online Computer-Based Dissection Manual (CBDM) of the Upper Extremity directed toward first year medical, dental or other students taking human gross anatomy courses with a dissection laboratory component. The CBDM provides a resource to guide students through the requisite steps of each dissection module, and serves as a powerful tool for independent study and review. The purpose of creating the CBDM was to increase the efficiency of dissection in the gross anatomy laboratory, improve dissection techniques, and stimulate active, self-directed learning. The content is presented in a series of labeled digital images of the upper extremity dissection along with the written dissection instruction. The material is arranged in seven sections:

  1. Scapular Region

  2. Pectoral Region and Axilla

  3. Axilla- Arteries and Nerves

  4. Anterior and Posterior Arm

  5. Cubital Fossa and Forearm Flexors

  6. Extensors of the Forearm and Dorsum of the Hand

  7. The Palm of the Hand

Each section contains multiple steps required to complete the dissection module.

The program is menu-driven, allows for viewing of the entire content in sequence, or, selected sections or steps in any order. The CBDM is intended as an anatomy laboratory visual guide, which might be used as a supplement to a cadaver dissection manual.

The Computer-Based Dissection Manual (CBDM) of the Upper Extremity was used as a supplementary source to the mandatory Gray’s Dissection Guide. The CBDM of the Upper Extremity was available online for first year medical students enrolled in the Human Structure course at Wright State University. Students were able to study labeled digital images of the assigned dissection, along with the short dissection instructions, prior each laboratory in order to spend, class time more effectively in active dissection. The high resolution images were available for view without labels to provide students with opportunities for repetition and self-assessment.

After the first year, use of the CBDM was evaluated by all first year medical students. The vast majority of students (94%) decided to use this new tool, which was recommended, but not required. The CBDM was used by 93% students who had no prior dissection experience, and by 96% students who have done cadaver dissection previously. Among all CBDM users, 97% found it very useful or somewhat useful. Most of the users (95%) wanted to use it for additional preparation for the practical lab exam.

All students concluded that the CBDM was a very helpful, user-friendly resource, and suggested that all dissection modules should be developed in this format. Faculty members noticed that the CBDM accelerated the dissection process, increased of the efficiency of dissection, and improved dissection techniques.

Editor’s Note
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Kraszpulska B, Ritterhoff K, Gainor R. Computer-based dissection manual (CBDM) of the upper extremity. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2012;8:9065.

Educational Objectives

  1. To understand the approach to the assigned dissection.
  2. To learn the basic anatomy of the Upper Extremity.
  3. To help students visualize step by step dissection procedure.
  4. To review dissected structures after each session.
  5. To provide unlimited access to the “prosection” material outside of the anatomy lab.


  • Upper Extremity, Computer-Assisted Instruction, Cadaver Dissection


Evaluation by medical students of a new Computer-Based Dissection Manual. Presented at Experimental Biology meeting, Anaheim, CA, April 24-28, 2010.

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