Dissection, also known as anatomization, is a surgical technique that involves the careful separation and exposure of tissues or structures in the body. This technique is commonly used in medical practice to identify and isolate specific structures or organs, to study their anatomy and physiology, and to perform surgical procedures on them. Dissection can be performed using a variety of surgical instruments, including scalpels, scissors, forceps, and retractors. It requires a thorough knowledge of anatomy, as well as careful attention to detail and precision, to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the procedure.

For instance, when the cystic duct is dissected during a surgical procedure, it means that the duct has been carefully separated from the surrounding tissues, allowing it to be ligated (tied off) and cut as needed.

The term “dissection” comes from the Latin word “dissecare,” which means to cut apart into pieces.

Anatomical Dissection

Dissection is not only used in surgical procedures but also in anatomy courses for the study of the internal structures of plants, animals, and humans.

In medical education, cadaver dissection is an essential component of anatomy courses, as it provides students with hands-on experience in identifying and studying the structures of the human body. Dissection of cadavers is typically performed by second-year medical students and is done to gain a deeper understanding of the body’s anatomy and physiology.

To prevent the cadavers from deteriorating and to preserve them for study, they are usually injected with formaldehyde into the vascular system and preserved in formaldehyde. This process is known as embalming and allows the cadavers to be stored for extended periods of time, providing students with access to a valuable resource for learning and research.

Post Mortem Dissection

Post mortem dissection, also known as autopsy or necropsy, is the examination of a body after death to determine the cause of death, the presence of disease, and the extent of injuries. Autopsies are an important part of pathology and forensic medicine, and are used to determine the cause of death in cases where it is not immediately clear or where there may be legal implications. In non-forensic cases, autopsies are also performed to investigate the cause of unexplained deaths, particularly in developed countries where it is often a legal requirement to do so. Autopsies may involve both external and internal examinations of the body, including dissection of various organs and tissues to look for signs of disease or injury. The information gathered during an autopsy can be used to inform medical treatment, research, and public health initiatives.

Sharp and Blunt Dissection

In surgical and medical contexts, dissection can be classified as either sharp or blunt dissection. Sharp dissection involves the use of surgical instruments with a sharp cutting edge, such as scissors, scalpels, or cautery, to separate tissues or structures from their surrounding tissues. This technique is often used when a clean and precise separation is needed, as in the case of blood vessels or delicate tissues.

Blunt dissection, on the other hand, involves the separation of tissues using blunt instruments such as forceps, a peanut sponge, or even fingers. This technique is often used when a more gentle separation is needed, such as when separating soft tissues from one another or when working in areas where there is a risk of damaging nearby structures.

Both sharp and blunt dissections have their advantages and disadvantages and are used depending on the specific surgical or medical context.

Aortic Dissection

Aortic dissection, also known as dissecting aortic aneurysm, is a medical condition that occurs when a tear in the innermost layer of the aorta causes blood to leak into the layers of the aortic wall, creating a second channel (dissection) between the layers. This can cause the aorta to weaken and potentially rupture, leading to life-threatening complications such as internal bleeding or organ damage.

Aortic dissection is often associated with underlying medical conditions such as hypertension, Marfan syndrome, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Dissection Scissors

Dissection scissors are a type of surgical scissors with a curved, round tip that are commonly used in surgical and medical procedures. These scissors can be used for both blunt and sharp dissection, depending on the specific need. When used for blunt dissection, the rounded tip of the scissors can be used to gently separate tissues without cutting them, while for sharp dissection, the blades of the scissors are used to make clean cuts in the tissues.

Cadaver Dissection

Cadaver dissection is a commonly used technique in medical education, particularly in anatomy courses. It involves the use of a human cadaver, which has been donated for medical research purposes, to teach students about human anatomy and physiology.

During cadaver dissection, students work in small groups to dissect and study different regions of the body with the goal of gaining a better understanding of the structure and function of the human body. This hands-on experience is considered an essential part of medical education and provides students with a valuable opportunity to develop their surgical skills and gain a deeper understanding of the human body.

Lymph Node Dissection

Lymph node dissection is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of all lymph nodes and surrounding tissue (connective and fatty tissue) that are thought to be affected by cancer or another disease.

This procedure is commonly used in the treatment of cancers that have spread to the lymph nodes, such as breast cancer, melanoma, and prostate cancer.

Lymph node dissection is usually performed as part of a larger surgical procedure, such as a mastectomy or prostatectomy, and may involve the removal of multiple lymph nodes from the affected area.

The procedure is also sometimes called lymphadenectomy.

  • Regional lymph node dissection involves the removal of some lymph nodes around the tumor that are deemed sufficient for examination.
  • Radical lymph node dissection, on the other hand, involves the removal of most or all lymph nodes in the area of the tumor.
  • Axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) is commonly used in breast cancer treatment and involves the removal of all the soft tissues in the axilla, including the lymph nodes within it.
  • Sentinel lymph node dissection-biopsy (SLND, SLNB) is a procedure where the sentinel lymph node (the first lymph node to which cancer cells are likely to spread from a primary tumor) is identified, removed, and examined pathologically.
  • Neck dissection is a surgical procedure used to remove the affected lymph nodes in the neck. It is commonly performed in cases where metastases to lymph nodes in the neck have occurred from tumors in the thyroid, oral cavity, tongue, nasopharynx, oropharynx, hypopharynx, and larynx, among others. Different types of neck dissections include functional, radical, etc.
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