Apparently you can’t ever really know the human body and all of its secrets until you’ve dissected one.

At least, this is what medical students have to do if they want to to advance their medicine careers.

Needless to say, you need a stomach of steel and an ability to detach yourself to carve up a cadaver because, unsurprisingly, it’s both messy and really quite smelly.

So what exactly can someone expect from this niche experience?

According to Chris Gethard’s Beautiful/Anonymous podcast , titled Cadaver Epiphany, you should expect lots of fat.

Everywhere.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a skinny person or a fat person, fat is legit everywhere.

Many people donate their body to science

“It’s not like there’s a layer of skin, then a layer of fat, and then a layer of muscle and organs,” she said.

“There’s fat everywhere, like in between the tiniest things. In the eye sockets…so much fat.

“There is so much fat in a human body and it’s disgusting and it’s so wet and has a very distinctive smell, and seeps through your gloves.

“When you get home your roommates know you’re home before you even say hi because they can just smell you when you walk through the door.”

Medical students have had mixed experiences

Then there’s the smell.

When asked what the worst part of cadaver dissection was, one medical students answered on Reddit :

“I used to put Vicks Vaporub under my nose before going into the cadaver lab and the smell of the corpses was still overpowering. And it gets all over you.

“I didn’t understand how our instructor could be in there day in and day out until I learnt he had anosmia. He’d lost his sense of smell in a motorcycle accident a decade or so earlier.”

But, weirdly, it won’t put you off your food.

In fact, dissecting a body seems to have the reverse effect.

Dead bodies and the chemicals used have a strange affect on appetite

“Strangely enough, the hunger [was the worst part],” added someone else.

“Something about the smell always made my entire class hungry at the end, no matter what time of the day.”

The bottom line is it’s actually quite sad.

Several other students admitted it made them think of their own mortality, with one saying:

“Holding someone’s brain in your hands. It’s smaller than you may think.

Your brain may be smaller than you think

“Realising that all of someone’s hopes, dreams, loves, fears, angers, memories are now just a chunk of dead tissue in your hands hammers home your own mortality…

“Then you realise you’re starving from all the chemicals and go out to lunch.”



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Zahra Mulroy

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