Students in program still study three cadavers every semester.
By Eddie Chozet
As of this semester, this college’s mortuary science department is using the Anatomage table, which allows students to study 3-D digital images of real-life cadavers.
The table is the latest piece of equipment adopted by medical schools, simulation centers and physician assistant programs, said mortuary science Chair Felix Gonzalez. His department is among 110 institutions on six different continents using the table.
“We are very excited to have this table at San Antonio College,” Gonzalez said. “We are one of the few to have them in the area.”
According to student success generalist Cynthia Escatel, the Perkins Fund, a federal grant, covered the table’s entire expense of $79,000.
About the size of an operating table, the Anatomage is the only system that can display life-size images of human gross anatomy, according to the manufacturer, Anatomage Medical, based in San Jose, Calif.
The table connects to a projector and lets instructors demonstrate procedural material and engage students.
The table is also available to medical assisting and emergency medical technician students.
In February, Gonzalez demonstrated the table during an interview with The Ranger.
“This was a real person,” he said as he tapped the table’s touch screen and pulled up the body scan of a 33-year-old man from Korea.
The man’s family donated his body to Anatomage after his death, Gonzalez said.
The table stores about 120 different pathology scans, he said. The device is based on Anatomage’s radiology software, Invivo5.
The software application can load any patient scan data — such as MRI or CT scans — and has been cleared by the FDA for the display and 3-D visualization of medical image files.
“In addition to the two standard options of a male and female body scan, there is a library of different diseases with what people died from,” he said. “You can look up anywhere from an enlarged heart to an enlarged liver. You can actually go in and see what the pathology looks like.”
Mortuary science sophomore Elvis Razo said he would rather work on a cadaver.
“Don’t get me wrong, the Anatomage table is great with technology, but I feel like you really get the most experience working with a corpse,” he said. “The arteries are quick to find on the machine, (but) with the body, you have to search for it. Although you do get unlimited number of trials with the table, there’s limited bodies that we work on.”
The department gets three cadavers to study every semester, Gonzalez said