1 The embalmer injected fluids through the arteries to remove most of the blood and to preserve the tissue, which will be shades of gray and brown. There is a mild smell from the materials used. It has been checked by OSHA to be safe. The smell will attach itself to clothes, particularly heavy fabrics like wool.
2 The treatment makes the muscles stiff, but not rigid. Limbs and digits can be moved a little.
3 Nothing is moving, expanding, bleeding, or otherwise being alive, but use your imagination
4 Faces are distorted and eyes discolored - cover the face.
5 The person is no longer conscious of it, but clearly wanted to stay active for a little longer in human affairs, providing you the chance to explore and really have a sure idea of what your patients are like inside - remember it could be you in 20, 40, 60, 80 years' time - not long on the scale of life on Earth
6 Beware of sharp edges on the tables, the weight of the table covers, any scalpels or other sharps left on the table or even in the body
7 Tissues dry out quickly, keep moist with wet paper towel, and seal the bag immediately after use
8 Fatty tissue is widespread under the skin and in body cavities. It makes for a greasy feel. Use gloves and paper towels.
9 Beware tube contents; some are nasty - bile, feces, unfixed brain; others may mislead because they moved after death. Not everything made green by bile has to be biliary system
10 It's messy - wear old clothes or old scrubs. You'll do the exam by yourself, so do not rely on one person in your group doing the manipulation
11 Feeling - with or without gloves - also gives a stronger sense of identity, e.g., fossa ovale, urinary bladder behind pubis, pyloric sphincter
12 There may be some dismemberment, sectioning, e.g., a mid-sagittal cut through pelvis, or through the head to see airway structures and other mid-line structures
13 Organs are viewed from all directions, although learned from the atlas and book in only three planes, the divisions and terminology are often more convincing from only certain aspects, e.g., for the lobes of the lung
14 Organs at first can be viewed in their natural location and properly connected . When they are cut out, note connections between the organ and what is left behind, e.g., heart and great vessels. Relative positions are very important, but can quickly be lost, obscured or even reversed.
15 Connections are important for identification., e.g., nerves in the arm and forearm should connect with the brachial plexus; femoral artery should connect with the external iliac artery of that side.
16 Some organs are surprisingly small, e.g., post-menopausal uterus and prostate gland.
17 What anatomists are reluctant to admit is that from early on they used hand lenses (a magnifying glass). Seen with this help, many structures are much more convincing. Of course, optical magnification is used in much surgery, and diagnostic tools, e.g., for looking in ears, eyes, etc
18 Larger blood vessels, especially the veins, can be felt to be tubes; and some may have hardened dark blood retained in them, e.g., inferior vena cava.
19 Other grandly named structures are surprisingly short, e.g., celiac trunk barely goes anywhere before giving rise to other arteries.
20 Great range of sizes. Make a note to help in later ID, e.g. aorta is large, azygous vein is smaller and darker, intercostal vein is much smaller - just a dark line
21 Nerves are white, narrow and feel more solid.
22 Tendons are also white and solid, but connect with the darker skeletal muscles.
23 Fascia and other connective tissues hold organs and structures together. They have to be dissected away, lifted, or cut out.
24 Some organs may have been removed by surgery before death, e.g., uterus, gallbladder; or have been operated on or received prosthetic devices, e.g., pacemaker, artificial hip joint, stents
25 There may be abnormalities and pathology present, - cysts, tumors. Infection should not be present: cadavers were screened for this.
26 Organs may have been cut out, but may still be in the bag somewhere: hunt before concluding that they are gone.
27 In the EXAM do not pull on the tags. Use your eyes and manipulate surrounding structures carefully, replacing anything moved.
28 In the brain exam of the last module, you will not be allowed to touch or pull on the tags and pins.
29 The exams will include models and a few x-rays, so be sure that you know those.
30 Also on the lab exam will be questions drawn from both the quizzes and main menu of Guy's Anat Lab Thorax and Heart (under Thorax & Abdomen)