Comparison of Thiel-Embalmed and Plastic Models for Teaching Female Pelvic Exam Technique [10C]

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



Medical students at ETSU Quillen College of Medicine currently receive pre-clerkship pelvic exam training through low fidelity simulation (LFS) pelvic models. These models do not allow students to gain familiarity with all aspects of the pelvic exam before clinical experiences. ETSU has adopted a soft embalming technique, the Thiel method, which allows for better soft tissue tactile preservation and joint mobility. This pilot study evaluated the utility of using the Thiel-embalmed donors compared to the current LFS models in teaching pelvic exam technique.


A randomized experimental study with fourteen first year medical students was conducted. Students were divided into the experimental group (Thiel-embalmed donor) and control group (LFS model). All students completed pre- and post-surveys assessing confidence, transference to clinical practice, and realism.


The study suggests that students accepted both models as pelvic exam teaching platforms. Examining data from the groups’ post-surveys indicated that students using the Thiel-embalmed donor reported a high level of confidence with their skills, resolved the experience was transferrable to patient care, and determined that the Thiel donor was a realistic representation of the pelvic exam. The plastic model had less positive reviews on transference to patient care, being realistic, and instilling confidence in new skills.


Due to the small sample size of this study, the data collected do not have the power to detect statistical significance in differences between student reception of both models. While more data need to be collected to determine statistical significance, this instruction method is a promising development in medical education.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles