A Glimpse of our Past
A historical perspective: Infection from cadaveric dissection from the 18th to 20th centuries
Version of Record online: 4 OCT 2012
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 26, Issue 2, pages 154–160, March 2013
How to Cite
Shoja, M. M., Benninger, B., Agutter, P., Loukas, M. and Tubbs, R. S. (2013), A historical perspective: Infection from cadaveric dissection from the 18th to 20th centuries. Clin. Anat., 26: 154–160. doi: 10.1002/ca.22169
- Issue online: 8 FEB 2013
- Version of Record online: 4 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 27 AUG 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 14 AUG 2012
- Manuscript Received: 20 MAY 2012
Today, the study of human anatomy utilizing the ultimate study guide, the cadaver, is relatively safe. In the past, however, human dissection was dangerous. Prior to the germ theory, antibiotics, and the use of gloves, cadavers were often life threatening to dissectors including both the teacher and the student. Medical students who graduated in the United States before 1880 were unlikely to practice antisepsis in the dissecting room. In the present article, we review human cadaveric dissection in Europe and the United States primarily from the 1700s to the early 1900s in regard to its potential for transmission of infection to the dissector. A brief account of the infectious hazards of human cadavers in general and those of cadavers used for dissection in particular is given. Clin. Anat. 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.