Gross anatomy

Gross anatomy

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Encyclopedia
Gross anatomy is the study of anatomy
Anatomy
Anatomy is a branch of biology and medicine that is the consideration of the structure of living things. It is a general term that includes human anatomy, animal anatomy , and plant anatomy...

 at the macroscopic level
Macroscopic
The macroscopic scale is the length scale on which objects or processes are of a size which is measurable and observable by the naked eye.When applied to phenomena and abstract objects, the macroscopic scale describes existence in the world as we perceive it, often in contrast to experiences or...

. The term gross distinguishes it from other areas of anatomical study, including microscopic anatomy
Histology
Histology is the study of the microscopic anatomy of cells and tissues of plants and animals. It is performed by examining cells and tissues commonly by sectioning and staining; followed by examination under a light microscope or electron microscope...

, which is studied on a microscopic scale, typically with a microscope
Microscope
A microscope is an instrument used to see objects that are too small for the naked eye. The science of investigating small objects using such an instrument is called microscopy...

.

Techniques of study


Gross anatomy is studied using both invasive and noninvasive methods with the goal of obtaining information about the macroscopic structure and organization of organ
Organ (anatomy)
In biology, an organ is a collection of tissues joined in structural unit to serve a common function. Usually there is a main tissue and sporadic tissues . The main tissue is the one that is unique for the specific organ. For example, main tissue in the heart is the myocardium, while sporadic are...

s and organ systems. Among the most common methods of study is dissection
Dissection
Dissection is usually the process of disassembling and observing something to determine its internal structure and as an aid to discerning the functions and relationships of its components....

, in which the body of an animal is surgically
Surgery
Surgery is an ancient medical specialty that uses operative manual and instrumental techniques on a patient to investigate and/or treat a pathological condition such as disease or injury, or to help improve bodily function or appearance.An act of performing surgery may be called a surgical...

 opened and its organs studied. Endoscopy
Endoscopy
Endoscopy means looking inside and typically refers to looking inside the body for medical reasons using an endoscope , an instrument used to examine the interior of a hollow organ or cavity of the body. Unlike most other medical imaging devices, endoscopes are inserted directly into the organ...

, in which a video camera
Video camera
A video camera is a camera used for electronic motion picture acquisition, initially developed by the television industry but now common in other applications as well. The earliest video cameras were those of John Logie Baird, based on the electromechanical Nipkow disk and used by the BBC in...

-equipped instrument is inserted through a small incision in the subject, may be used to explore the internal organs and other structures of living animals. The anatomy of the circulatory system
Circulatory system
The circulatory system is an organ system that passes nutrients , gases, hormones, blood cells, etc...

 in a living animal may be studied noninvasively via angiography, a technique in which blood vessel
Blood vessel
The blood vessels are the part of the circulatory system that transports blood throughout the body. There are three major types of blood vessels: the arteries, which carry the blood away from the heart; the capillaries, which enable the actual exchange of water and chemicals between the blood and...

s are visualized after being injected with an opaque dye. Other techniques of study include X-ray
X-ray
X-radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation. X-rays have a wavelength in the range of 0.01 to 10 nanometers, corresponding to frequencies in the range 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz and energies in the range 120 eV to 120 keV. They are shorter in wavelength than UV rays and longer than gamma...

 and MRI
Magnetic resonance imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging , nuclear magnetic resonance imaging , or magnetic resonance tomography is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to visualize detailed internal structures...

.

Many types of multimedia
Multimedia
Multimedia is media and content that uses a combination of different content forms. The term can be used as a noun or as an adjective describing a medium as having multiple content forms. The term is used in contrast to media which use only rudimentary computer display such as text-only, or...

 exist for the study of gross anatomy, including textbook
Textbook
A textbook or coursebook is a manual of instruction in any branch of study. Textbooks are produced according to the demands of educational institutions...

s and educational CDs and DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

s.

In education


Most doctoral health profession schools, such as medical and dental schools, require that students complete a practical (dissection) course in gross human anatomy. Such courses aim to educate students in basic human anatomy and seek to establish anatomical landmarks that may later be used to aid medical diagnosis
Medical diagnosis
Medical diagnosis refers both to the process of attempting to determine or identify a possible disease or disorder , and to the opinion reached by this process...

. Many schools provide students with cadaver
Cadaver
A cadaver is a dead human body.Cadaver may also refer to:* Cadaver tomb, tomb featuring an effigy in the form of a decomposing body* Cadaver , a video game* cadaver A command-line WebDAV client for Unix....

s for investigation by dissection, aided by dissection manuals such as Grant's Dissector, as well as cadaveric atlases (e.g. Rohen's).