Skills (Cadaver) Laboratory


Once or twice each year, OUDEM residents undergo training in the OU cadaver laboratory.  This training, for which OUDEM obtains our own (previously unused) cadavers, includes a variety of procedures ranging from airway management to thoracotomy.

This unique opportunity allows anatomy-based instruction and explanation, under controlled non-urgent conditions, for myriad procedures. Regional anatomy will be dissected to allow residents to have a better understanding of regional nerve blocks, and central venous line placement.

A partial listing of procedures for which the cadaver laboratory is useful includes:


  • cricothyrotomy
  • thoracotomy
  • venous cutdown
  • diagnostic peritoneal lavage
  • suprapubic catheterization/cystotomy
  • lateral canthotomy
  • extensor tendon repair
  • various plastics procedures including fingertip amputation repair

OUDEM faculty and residents are sometimes joined in the cadaver laboratory by Attending-level surgical subspecialists, who participate in teaching of specific surgical procedures (e.g., extensor tendon repair).


This occasional inclusion of other specialists helps to maintain OUDEM residents’ excellent rapport with these surgeons, and assures that ED-performed procedures will be executed in the fashion preferred by those who will provide follow-up.

This cadaver lab is an important part of the commitment of the OUDEM to prepare residents to be broadly qualified, well-rounded Emergency Medicine specialists.