What is gross anatomy


from Greek: ἀνατέμνειν ("anatemnein") - separate, cut up
English: anatomy

1 definition

The anatomy is the descriptive doctrine of the structure or shape (morphology) of the human body and its tissues (histology), as well as their development (embryology).

It is based on the analytical dissection or sectioning of corpses (Latin: secare - to cut) for scientific reasons.

2 sub-areas

The anatomy can be further subdivided into sub-areas that deal more closely with different aspects of the human body, e.g.

Pathological anatomy and histopathology are sub-areas of pathology that strongly overlap with anatomy.

3 methodologies

The research, description and communication of the human anatomy takes place with the help of various methods and approaches. These include:

The best understanding of anatomy can usually be achieved through a combination of several methods.

4 story

From Mesopotamian cuneiform scripts it can be deduced that the Sumerians and Babylonians had their first basic anatomical knowledge as early as 3,500 BC. Although individual cultures - above all the Egyptians - developed an astonishing skill in handling corpses, the development of anatomy in antiquity was hampered by the fact that the body of the dead was considered inviolable in many countries.

In ancient Greece systematic knowledge was gained from animals and stillborn babies. These observations were made by Empedocles, Hippocrates and Aristotle, among others, but were less medically than scientifically motivated.

The introduction of anatomy as a medical field of knowledge can essentially be traced back to the Greek Galen of Pergamon (129-201). Galen worked in Rome as a personal physician for the Emperor Commodus. He developed a comprehensive doctrine of diseases, which he laid down in his work "Methodus methendi". His anatomical observations form the basis for his book "De anatomicis administrationibus". However, Galen's findings were based predominantly on the dissection of animals, so that they contained numerous errors with regard to human anatomy. Nonetheless, Galen's work set the tone for many centuries until the Renaissance.

Andreas Vesalius, or "Vesal" for short (1514-1564), who wrote the seven-volume work "De humani corporis fabrica" ​​published in 1543, is considered to be the founder of modern anatomy.

5 present

Anatomy is an independent scientific branch of medicine and part of the pre-clinical training in medical studies. The content to be conveyed is defined in Germany in the subject catalog for the first part of the medical examination, the GK1. The transfer of knowledge takes place, among other things, through lectures and practical exercises in which corpses are dissected, the so-called preparation course ("prep course").

There are around 40 university anatomical institutes in Germany. The corpses that are dissected as part of the student training come from body donors who make their physical shell available for scientific purposes after death by means of a corresponding agreement (body donation agreement).

6 future

Even if the structure of the human body does not fundamentally change, anatomy is by no means a static science. In particular, the area of ​​neuroanatomy is characterized by a dynamic increase in knowledge, for example through functional magnetic resonance tomography (fMRI).

Another focus is on the complete digitization of the human anatomy in order to offer clinical medicine a kind of "GPS" for the human body during invasive interventions. A relevant benefit of digitization can also be seen in the use of the models obtained in computer animation and in virtual reality (VR) - primarily for educational purposes.

Click and drag to move the 3D model on the page.

7 classification

The human anatomy can be subdivided into coherent organ systems according to systematic aspects or into regions according to topographical aspects. In the common anatomy textbooks one can find numerous different structuring approaches, which are essentially based on these two possibilities.

7.1 ... according to organ systems

Contents that cannot be assigned to a specific organ system or to no specific structure within an organ system are the subject of general anatomy.

7.2 ... by region

Learning the anatomy in regions is particularly relevant from a practical clinical point of view, as it takes the topographical relationships into account. One differentiates:

7.3 ... according to IMPP

In the Flexikon, the subject anatomy is structured as follows according to the subject catalog for the first part of the medical examination (GK1) of the IMPP:

  • General embryology
  • General anatomy, tissue science and histogenesis
  • Upper extremity
    • Basic knowledge of bone development
    • Joints
    • Muscles
    • annoy
    • Arteries
    • Veins
    • Lymph nodes and lymph vessels
    • Applied and topographical anatomy
  • Lower extremity
    • Basic knowledge of bone development
    • Joints
    • Muscles
    • annoy
    • Arteries
    • Veins
    • Lymph nodes and lymph vessels
    • Applied and topographical anatomy
  • Head and neck
    • Development and growth of the cranium
    • Head and neck muscles, fascia
    • Head and neck viscera
    • Cranial nerves
    • Cervical nerves
    • Vegetative innervation on the head and neck arteries and veins
    • Lymph nodes and lymph vessels
    • Applied and topographical anatomy
  • Body wall
    • move
    • Chest wall
    • Abdominal wall
    • Basin, basin walls
  • Breast viscera
  • Abdominal and pelvic viscera
  • Central nervous system
  • Organ of vision
  • Hearing and balance organs
  • Skin and appendages

The description of the muscle anatomy is supplemented by animations for most muscles.

8 FlexiQuiz anatomy

A collection of multiple choice questions and (partially commented) answers can be found here for learning control and exam preparation:

9 Gray's Anatomy

Henry Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body (20th US edition, 1918)

10 web links