Original Publication
Open Access

The Anterior Abdominal Wall: A Self-Study Paper Model

Published: September 24, 2014 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9922

Included in this publication:

  • Instructors Guide.pdf
  • Wall model assembly instructions.pdf
  • Wall model color templates.pdf
  • Wall model templates.pdf
  • Wall model self assessment questions.pdf
  • Physician assistant wall model assessment.pdf

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: The interior abdominal wall has numerous layers that are often confusing to beginning anatomy students. Educators have noted that students learn in different ways, including kinesthetically. Assembling this simple model of a complex anatomical structure is a fun and interactive way to encourage students to transform kinesthetic experience into useful learning. Methods: Detailed templates and instructions for constructing a simple model of the anterior abdominal wall from colored paper and strings are provided to teach the layered anatomy of structures such as the anterior and posterior laminae of the rectus sheath and the arcuate line. Other features represented on the model include skin and tela subcutanea, multilayered anatomy of the musculature and aponeuroses, the inguinal ligament, and passage of structures through the deep and superficial inguinal rings. A list of features and associated teaching points are also provided, as well as examples of common clinical pathology. Students learn from assembling the model as well as from its three-dimensional nature and various colors representing different layers. Self-assessment questions are included too. All or some of the questions can be used to prepare class or self-study exercises that utilize the paper model. Suggestions are given for using the model during lectures, anatomical dissection of the anterior abdominal wall, and self-study away from the anatomy lab. Results: The model was used as a learning tool in a physician assistant gross anatomy class. Twenty-seven out of 40 students volunteered to assess the model’s utility as a learning tool. These students took a brief four-question assessment before using the model and the same assessment after using it. All students except one improved on the postassessment, and none did worse. All said that the model was useful. Discussion: The model is a portable, simple, and inexpensive tool that can be used in the classroom, in the anatomy lab, or as self-study. It is not a replacement for other print or electronic study tools available to learn the anatomy of the anterior abdominal wall. It supplements, but does not replace, the study of living anatomy, prosected material, or anatomical dissection.

Educational Objectives

This resource will enable learners to:

  1. Use kinesthetic learning in assembling the model.
  2. Understand relationships of structures and regions of clinical significance.
  3. Use features shown on the model to understand associated teaching points.
  4. Use the model during lectures as well as during and after dissection.
  5. Use the model for peer-to-peer teaching and team-based learning activities.
  6. Use the question set for self-assessment.

Author Information

  • Alan Sakaguchi, PhD: University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
  • Maria Bartanuszova: University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
  • Earlanda Williams: University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
  • Charleen Moore: University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

None to report.

None to report.

Prior Presentations
Sakaguchi A, Bartanuszova M, Williams E, Weaker F, Moore C. Low tech can be high yield: simple but effective paper models of the anterior abdominal wall, pterygopalatine fossa, and triangles of the neck. Poster presented at: American Association of Anatomists Regional Meeting; October 12, 2013; Dallas, TX.


Sakaguchi A, Bartanuszova M, Williams E, Moore C. The anterior abdominal wall: a self-study paper model. MedEdPORTAL. 2014;10:9922. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9922