There are many scholastic benefits to dissecting a cadaver. But I’ll leave that for another day. For me, the greatest and simplest lesson from the gross anatomy lab experience is this: obesity will kill you.
From day one of lab, it was evident that adipose tissue (body fat) can accumulate almost everywhere and creates a myriad of problems. It invests every crevasse of the body: from your cheeks to your feet. It can get everywhere and anywhere. I wasn’t surprised that there was an unhealthy amount of fat on the anterior wall of our cadaver’s abdomen. I wasn’t even surprised that we had to dig through a thick layer of fat to expose the coronary circulation on our cadaver’s heart, which plainly suffered from cardiomegaly.
I was surprised to find that a thick layer of fat was on almost every abdominopelvic organ we extracted. The adipose tissue not only made every dissection session an arduous and painstaking process, it must have affected every body system when our cadaver was alive. Even if you only accounted for the fact that the fat abnormally distended every available fossa in the body, it’s pretty substantial.
As I said, if nothing else, it has made me more disciplined about working out. If I donate my body to science and it ends up in an academic cadaver lab, I don’t want to hear, “man, look at all that fat.” Or, “there’s fat there? Well, what was I expecting?”
I want to hear, “man, this guy was so muscular and lean and attractive and rich!”