Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Specialty Anatomy – UI COM

Updated: 4/15/24

For AY 24-25 elective offered 3/17/25-3/29/2025.

Must be an M4 student and have completed all core clerkship

This elective is designed to expand upon the fundamental anatomic knowledge thus-far acquired from the Phases 1 and 2 curricula to prepare better the graduating student for PGY-1 of surgical or other procedure-driven disciplines. This is accomplished by an intense sequence of day-long, student-performed, specialty-specific cadaveric dissections under continuous faculty guidance. The focus is upon spatial relationships and topographic anatomy. Daily, brief, oral presentations by students are required to assess knowledge assimilation as well as to provide practice in concise, organized extemporaneous presentation. Ad hoc faculty presentations/demos are included for clarification of difficult concepts and anatomy salient for interventional procedures.

(Prospective surgeons interested in dissection and additionally obtaining certifications in selected American College of Surgeons competencies, gaining experience in surgical protocols/skills/MIS/Robo, and presenting cases are directed to the 4wk ELEC515 – Anatomy/Surgery Intensive [ASI] – which is offered in the final 4wk block of Spring term).


  • Norm Lieska, PhD
  • Abbey Breckling, MS

At the end of this experience the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate and describe some key emergency procedures on the donor body: cricothyrotomy, needle & tube thoracotomies, pericardiocentesis, thoracostomy/aortic cross-clamping, IJV/subclavian central line access, saphenous cutdown (all w/o US guidance)
  • Identify, on a specialty-specific basis, normal anatomic structures and their spatial relationships, especially to fascial/serosal planes as encountered in cadaveric dissection (and in occasional, selected axial sections)
  • Understand common anatomic variations as distinct from pathologies
  • Recount and describe from previous clinical experiences some key pathologies associated with particular organs or anatomic regions
  • Recognize some common post-mortem findings, eg, neoplasia, cysts, effusions, fractures, calculi, herniations, scars/fibrosis/adhesions
  • Present orally and extemporaneously to colleagues and faculty the key features of a dissected region, including a clinical and/or functional reference, using accurate anatomic terminology and a concise, confident delivery


  • A wholly dissection-based format under faculty guidance (maximum 5:1 student-faculty ratio) Specialty-specific, active dissection (eg, Ortho dissects back & limbs; Ob/Gyn – female abd, P&P; ENT – h&n; Anesth – airway, cranial nn, nerve plxes, spinal cord/nn, peripheral n. blocks; Radiol – whole body axial/sagittal sections; other specialties – relevant, specific regions/systems)
  • Description, required supplies, schedules, online reference text et al. on Blackboard site
  • Activities proceed as per a daily dissection topics plan & schedule
  • 2 students of same specialty per donor body; some — eg, ENT & Ophtho, — usually 1 student per
  • Brief, impromptu faculty “whiteboards”/demos in the lab on key anatomic points
  • Episodic, extemporaneous “whiteboard” presentations by students during lab
  • A 3-5min, assigned demo/presentation of aspects of their dissection by each student at the end of each lab session
  • Recommended reference atlas/text available online per library: Netter’s Concise Radiologic Anatomy
  • Independent reading/review outside of lab time as self-determined or as recommended by faculty based on assessment of each student’s performance


  • Scrubs/closed-toe shoes, gloves & scalpel blades are student responsibility
  • Lock to secure locker
  • Instruments, atlases, dissectors, lab coats and goggles are provided


  • Comprehensive, checkbox/written narrative feedback is given daily after each lab session on student dissection/knowledge/progress/professionalism
  • Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading is determined by collective (quantitative) performance scores on the feedback forms

Administrative Information Heading link

  • Program Number

    ELEC 536

  • Program Contacts

    Program Director: Norm Lieska, PhD

  • Program Information

    Location: UI COM

    Duration: 2 Weeks
    Night Call: No
    Weekends: No
    Students Accepted: Min. 5 Max. 10
    Housestaff Used as Faculty: No
    Lectures/Conferences/Faculty Contact: ad hoc faculty ‘whiteboards’/demos in lab
    Laboratory: 40 hrs

    Independent Study: 3hrs
    Outpatient: 0
    Inpatient: 0
    Total Hours /Week: 43