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The Structural Basis of Medical Practice (SBMP) - Guide for Answering Essay Questions

The College of Medicine at The Pennsylvania State University


[ Structural Basis of Medical Practice ]

1. Is a drawing adequate? Drawings are encouraged but are not required of an excellent answer. A drawing can not stand by itself. For example, you might draw the popliteal fossa and show some of the contents. You would need to use prose to explain the relations and the boundaries indicated by the drawing.

2. Are bulleted phrases adequate? Please to do not recreate an essay answer key. It will be appreciated if you demonstrate your knowledge by including prose as part or all of your answer. Your answer should reveal depth of knowledge, understanding, ability to use anatomical terminology, and, if appropriate, creative thought. Try to make your answer stand on its own as a useful account of anatomy.

3. What about relationships? Please remember that there are six directions that define boundaries and that define nearby structures - A/P, M/L, S/I. For example, if you are asked to discuss the posterior mediastinum have something to say about each of 6 boundaries. Further, when discussing the relationships of each content, there are six directions to consider.

4. What key relations are worthy of focus? Know the relation of structures as they enter and leave a region. For example, know that the medial femoral circumflex artery leaves the posterior boundary of the femoral triangle by passing superior to pectineus and inferior to iliopsoas and that the profunda femoral artery leaves this same boundary by passing inferior to pectineus and superior to adductus longus.

5. What about using abbreviations/acronyms? Please do not use LAD as an acronym for the anterior interventricular artery. If you must adopt the lateral anterior descending (clinical term) artery then define "LAD" on the first instance that you use it. Define TCL, MCL, FCL, LCL, etc. on the first occasion that you use the term. If you use a term on only a few occassions then, please, simply write it out.

6. What is meant by vascularization? Vascular supply is by arteries, veins, and lymphatics.

7. What is meant by innervation or by nerve supply? Please note that a structure/region can have motor supply and sensory supply. The source might be from the same or from different nerves. The motor supply can be somatic or autonomic or both. At this point, please know that most nerves are mixed. Thus, if you are asked to account for damage to a nerve then please remember to discuss both motor and sensory deficits as warranted. For example, damage to the deep peroneal nerve can lead to foot drop and to paraesthesia at the web between the first two digits.

8. Ask number 8 and I will try to reply ASAP.


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The Structural Basis of Medical Practice - Human Gross Anatomy
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