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Associate Professor Ng Yee Kong (far right) and first-year medical students work with cadavers in a class.

A rise in donated cadavers to NUS Medicine’s Department of Anatomy has allowed medical students to take up dissection classes since 2016. The dissection classes were stopped in 2003 due to a shortage of human cadavers. These classes allow students to get a feel of what it is like to handle a body during surgery, because each cadaver has variations in terms of body structure, similar to each patient. In 2017, the school has received 20 donated bodies thus far. In addition to the dissection classes, students also attend anatomy prosection classes, where they study and work with cadavers that have already been dissected by experts.

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Staff and students at the cremation of "silent mentors". Donated cadavers are used for teaching for up to three years. The bodies are then cremated and the remains returned to the families. Credit: Department of Anatomy, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

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