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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Austin Journal of Anatomy

Volume 4, Issue 3, March 2017, Article number 1070.

The published version is available here. Copyright © Fenderson et al.


Pathologic findings encountered during cadaver dissection provide an opportunity for integrating the preclinical basic sciences and encouraging critical thinking. The objective of this study was to determine whether it is possible to make a pathologic diagnosis of an unknown mass from an embalmed cadaver. Diagnoses would have to be based solely on gross and microscopic appearance of tissue, without clinical histories of the cadaveric donors. The tissue samples we removed from each mass were surprisingly well preserved and showed minimal autolysis. Indeed, some of the histological detail was as clear as may be found in any textbook. We were able to obtain a pathologic diagnosis for 6 cases that illustrate complications of malignant neoplasms arising in the colon, breast, ovary, and kidney. Our results emphasize the importance of integrating gross and microscopic anatomy with pathology to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of disease. This histopathology independent learning project could become an integral part of dissection-based anatomy courses, and stimulate students to become more inquisitive when they see something out of the ordinary in their cadaver.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.