Axillobifemoral Bypass Graft: A Student Dissection Experience

Jason D. Matakas, Keara English, Katherine Allyn, Diane Algava, Ruth A. Howe, Priti L. Mishall, Sherry A. Downie


As first-year medical students, we were excited, but nervous, to start the anatomy course. We were prepared to dedicate ourselves to the physical demands of dissection, and the hours of memorizing names and relations of countless anatomic features. We expected to leave the anatomy course with a comprehensive understanding of the human body that we would apply to our future studies and careers. We were not prepared, however, for the experience we had with our cadaver, Lucy.* Lucy was a small woman, but as we learned, she had endured a lot, physically and medically, in her 83 years of life. She had a pacemaker. She had coronary artery disease and a triple bypass procedure. She also had severe peripheral artery disease and had undergone at least one extraordinary surgical graft procedure to maintain blood flow into her lower extremities. The surprise of discovering a small piece of an axillobifemoral bypass graft and then continuing to uncover it, region by region, throughout the anatomy course, brought our dissection experience and our connection to Lucy to a more profound level than we could ever have anticipated.

*The name Lucy was chosen as a pseudonym to protect the identity of the cadaver. 


triple bypass; Anatomy student; Axillobifemoral Bypass; Anatomy dissection

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