Uncovering Female Reproductive Pathology: Horizontally Integrated Observational Cadaveric Study [10O]

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Systems-based curricula have dominated medical school education over the recent decade, but anatomy has largely remained separate from this integration. Cadaveric dissection incorporates anatomy, histology, microbiology, pathology, and clinical significance into the early training of physicians. For pre-clinical students with particular interest in obstetrics and gynecology, a plethora of reproductive pathology can be uncovered upon close cadaveric analysis and more advanced dissection methods. Students can derive great benefit by re-visiting the anatomy lab to gain richer understanding of reproductive disease pathophysiology.


Ten female cadavers aged 60 to 98 (M=78 SD=12.8) from Ross University School of Medicine anatomy lab were examined for cervical, uterine, and ovarian pathology. Students reviewed pelvic anatomy and learned surgical techniques used to perform hysterectomies and cervical cone biopsies under guidance of a reproductive surgeon. Students processed harvested tissue, performed H&E staining along with HPV assays, and interpreted slides with pathologists. Through literature review and active discussion, faculty helped students relate clinical relevance of observational cadaveric study to general trends in obstetrics and gynecology.


All ten female cadavers revealed reproductive pathology, spanning cervical (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia stage I, atypical cervical glandular hyperplasia, Nabothian cysts), uterine (endometrial polyp, adenomyosis, leiomyomas), and ovarian (epithelial inclusion cysts, hyalinized atrophic ovarian follicles, ovarian calcifications) findings.


Observational cadaveric study encourages active learning, facilitates basic and clinical science integration, and allows for evaluation of reproductive pathology trends among the older female population. This not only profoundly engages aspiring obstetrician-gynecologists, but also fortifies an institution’s research profile while optimally utilizing gross anatomy lab resources.

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