The Level of Anatomical Knowledge, Hard to Establish: a Systematic Narrative Review

Dorothea Maria Koppes, Charlotte Petronella Robertus Triepels*, Kim Josephina Bernadette Notten, Carlijn Franscisca Anna Smeets, Rutgerus Franciscus Petrus Maria Kruitwagen, Toon van Gorp, Fedde Scheele, Sander Martijn Job van Kuijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: This literature review aimed to gain more insight into the level of anatomical knowledge based on published measurements among medical students, residents, fellows, and specialists. Methods: We performed an extensive literature search in three online databases: Medline (using PubMed), Web of Science, and Education Resources Information Centre (ERIC). Results: A total of 30 relevant studies were found. In these studies, participants took different anatomy tests, and their mean/median scaled scores range from 22.5 to 82.4% on a 0 to 100% scale. Conclusion: This review provides an overview of what is known about measured anatomical knowledge. After critically reviewing the literature, we have to conclude that the existing literature confirms that anatomical knowledge is hard to establish, mainly due to the lack of standardisation. Further research should focus on ways to define and assess ‘desired anatomical knowledge’ in different contexts. In a next phase, we can discuss if anatomical knowledge is lacking and if interventions are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-581
Number of pages13
JournalMedical science educator
Issue number2
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Cite this