by: Carlos A. Suárez–Quian
Sinauer Associates, Inc. 2011, $59.95 for one year subscription
The new and innovative Online Guided Gross Anatomy Dissector, created by Suárez-Quian for any student taking a human gross anatomy course, offers students a rich array of web-based learning tools for the study of human cadaveric anatomy. It is designed to compliment a lecture/laboratory-based course either through pre-laboratory guidance, in lab dissection, or reviewing for testing. Its complete portability on any electronic device with web access is ideal in this rapidly advancing age of technology and allows the student the ability to visually learn the material in any environment.
The Dissector contains more than 2,000 original cadaver photographs organized into 7 modules—the back, thorax, upper limb, abdomen, pelvis and perineum, lower limb, and head and neck (excluding brain). Clear and concise general and specific dissection and identification objectives are listed for each module. Each module begins with an overview of the osteology and surface anatomy of the region, followed by extremely detailed superficial through deep dissections, and ends with interactive flash cards for students to evaluate and reinforce their learning of the material.
Toggle thumbnails allow the user to easily move through the modules. The dissector contains step-by-step instructions for performing the dissections through the use of images, icons, and minimal text. For example, skin incisions are clearly labeled, animations are used for direction of cuts to be made, and an icon for the appropriate dissection tool is visually presented. There are also 25 excellent short dissection videos intended for students to envision and prepare for laboratory sessions. The dissections are beautifully performed and the narration is clear and articulate.
The Dissector is very thorough in content, well organized, and the pictures are of exceptional quality and accurately and clearly labeled. One very minor point that does not negate the usefulness of the dissector was the nonconventional depiction of “lateral” views of vertebrae. These photos would be better if rotated 90 degrees to conform to typical lateral views seen in most atlases and radiographs/MRIs. These views might be confusing to students learning anatomy for the first time.
The fact that the Dissector was designed to enhance rather than replace laboratory dissections is pertinent due to the fewer number of hours frequently given to teaching gross anatomy. Notwithstanding, the Dissector would be valuable to those students taking a non-cadaveric based human anatomy course to enhance their visual, three- dimensional understanding of the material. It would also be beneficial for students preparing for USMLE, SHELF, and Board exams; for medical students in clinical rotations to review anatomy before case presentations, especially in the operating room; and for medical or other health professional students and/or clinicians wanting to review anatomy for patient treatment interventions. The Dissector would also be useful for faculty members new to the teaching of gross anatomy and/or for periodic review of material.
The Dissector is compatible with all modern web browsers and most portable devices, including the iPad and iPhone. System requirements are a recent version of an Internet Browser (including Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 3.6, and Safari 5) and Adobe Flash Player or a browser that supports HTML 5 for viewing videos. A demo is available at www.onlinedissector.com, with a link to the Sinauer Associates website for purchase. The subscription cost is extremely reasonable, especially when comparing costs of atlases. Subsequent one-year renewals may also be purchased, but the cost is not listed; institutional site licenses are also available, as well as an Instructor's Resource Library (IRL) is available to adopters, which includes PowerPoint® versions of all the content available on the website.
I highly endorse the use of the Suárez Dissector for any student taking an in-depth human gross anatomy course.