The medical field is an obscure place to those without an MD or a love for white lab coats. The long, unpronounceable words and proximity to bodily fluids is enough to make anyone cringe, but as if that weren’t enough, take a look at the strange and alarming methods of medical simulation that are just run-of-the-mill for medical students and researchers.

1. The Rat


Because real rats are too lovable to practice on, students use this model in order to perfect laboratory rat testing before using actual rats. This model is equipped with anatomically correct tail veins, stomach, trachea, larynx, and pharynx. Because of this, students are able to effectively practice collecting samples, injecting, and blood testing. Students can also be taught proper feeding and handling procedures with this model.

2. The Hernia

Still used today, this anatomically correct model of the body includes parietal peritoneum, inferior epigastria vessels, external iliac vessels, transversalis fascia, ligament of Cooper, pubic bone structures, and the ilium, in order to give medical students a complete training in dealing with hernias. The students may practice indirect, direct, and ventral placement of surgical mesh. Now doesn’t that sound fun?

3. The Bile Duct

This model is used to teach students about laparoscopic choledochotomy and laparoscopic transcystic techniques used in exploration of the bile duct. The tissues used in this model are replaceable, like a vacuum with replaceable bags, so the students are able to perform accurate simulations as many times as necessary. This model has been quite successful with training, and is still in use today.

4. Female Catheterization

Used for students to practice urethral catheterization of females in a laboratory setting, this simulation includes anatomically accurate representation of all genitalia, and a bladder that holds 500cc of liquid. If the catheter is inserted correctly, the liquid will flow into the catheter bag, just as it would for a real patient.

5. Male Catheterization

When the catheter is inserted into the simulation, there will be resistance, as one would experience if doing this procedure on a real person. The model is fitted with a bladder that will dispel artificial urine into a catheter bag once the procedure is correctly completed. This model is currently in use for student training, and is important for when doctors will need to perform dialysis for patients.

6. Pregnancy

Simulating pregnancy and childbirth with various features, this model allows students to practice delivery in multiple positions. Students learn palpation, vaginal examination, fetal heartbeat monitoring, Leopold’s maneuvers, breast care, and every other relevant aspects of delivering a child. It includes many interchangeable parts for various stages of pregnancy and varying builds of the mother. This training model is quite effective, though no model can truly imitate the intricacies of a live birth.

7. The Colon

This model is currently used to train students on how to perform colonoscopies. The model is extremely realistic, and due to the texture, gives students the same feel of a real colonoscopy. The only downside to this model is that, just like a real human, it is fragile and can easily be damaged with rough handling.

8. Aged Buttocks

Although it may seem like a joke worthy of a teenage boy’s mind, this model is extremely important for many patients, and was created to train students how to remove feces from aged or bedridden patients who have difficulty passing bowel movements. This model includes simulated feces that are placed in the rectum and removed through the anus. This model is still in use in medical schools today.

9. Teeth

This model was developed for dentists to use in order to practice tooth extraction, replacement, fillings, and oral examinations. It is designed in such a way that the teeth can be easily replaced after being extracted, using the technique that a dentist would perform on an actual person who needed tooth replacement. Practicing extensively on models such as these help ensure that a future dentist will prevent making mistakes on his or her real patients.

10. The Prostate

Designed to allow students to be familiar with how to detect prostate cancer, this model includes four replaceable prostate glands. Some of the sample glands are designed to not have signs of cancer, while the others show varying stages of prostate cancer. Students learn how to test for this and how to detect the different stages of the cancer.

These methods of simulation may cause squeamishness or an awkward chuckle, but in fact, giving medical students this safe method of practice saves many lives each year, and ensures that doctors do have experience before entering the field.