No scissors, forceps, or even a scalpel in today’s lab. Instead, we busted out our woodshop skills and used a good ‘ol hacksaw to split our cadaver’s head into left and right halves (a sagittal cut straight through). I’ll never forget the mixed looks of awe, disgust, and amazement throughout the room as we all embarked on a rather awkward journey through the nasal cavity and adjacent sinuses. I eagerly volunteered to take part in the cutting process because, after all, how many times will we ever get this opportunity in the future? 😀
After carefully completing the separation, my tankmates proceeded to clear out some debris from the sinuses and around the soft tissues. We noted the terminal opening of the Eustachian tube in the nasopharynx, the epiglottis, the little ball thing hanging at the back of the throat (uvula), and went over where various tonsils are located.
When we think of “sinus”, often times our attention is directed to the region immediately behind the nose, but it was amazing to see the air-filled paranasal sinus cavities above and below the eye. At first, I guess it’s “gross” to imagine that ear fluid, mucus from the nasal cavity, and saliva from the oral cavity can all travel into the pharynx together, but learning about how these sinuses interplay with the nasal cavity in drainage events is more fascinating then I would’ve ever thought.
On another note, it’s a bit depressing to see anatomy lab approach its conclusion. I’ve learned more from my cadaver than any other “teacher” I’ve ever had, but have never had the opportunity to relay my thankfulness to her. I suppose that in the coming years as I mature as a medical student and embark on my residency, I’ll remember her as the sole reason for the bedrock of my anatomy knowledge. 🙂