Summary: Although simulation models have been widely used in several University hospitals, they are still not the same as real patients. With the use of soft cadavers, students probably gain more confidence in their future practice than with simulation models, and also carry out procedures with much more respect for patients.
Description: Most of the patients’ illnesses in University hospitals are those which are complicated or in advanced stages, and as such are not suitable for medical students to practice basic procedures. Besides, common surgical problems are managed by Community and Provincial hospitals, making it less likely for medical students to be exposed to those problems while studying at a medical school.


Although simulation models have been widely used in several University hospitals, they are still not the same as real patients, both physically and in terms of the sense of care and respect of students. Soft-embalmed cadavers are a promising alternative in University hospitals to which body donation for education is a regular occurrence. Well-preserved soft cadavers have a lifelike texture and excellent color preservation of muscle, viscera, and vasculature.


With practice on soft cadavers during clinical clerkships, a medical student can participate in the practice of several essential procedures, for example, lumbar puncture, skin sutures, punch biopsy of skin, cervical biopsy, aspiration of bursa, urethral catheterization, episiotomy with subsequent episiorrhaphy, and tracheal insertion. Appendectomy and repair of uncomplicated inguinal hernia are also possible for practice with soft cadavers to augment students’ surgical potential.


Although soft cadavers are increasingly used in medical schools, their uses are rather limited in postgraduate training and workshops of local or international specialist meetings. Gynecology, spine orthopedics, otolaryngology, and neurosurgery are common fields of specialists that frequently make use of soft cadavers. Indeed, Departments of Medicine, Surgery, and Obstetrics, including Divisions of Neurology and Dermatology, should also make use of soft cadavers for their rotating students’ procedural practice.


With the use of soft cadavers, students probably gain more confidence in their future practice than with simulation models, and also carry out procedures with much more respect for patients.