The Dermatome Man is first and foremost an anatomical model as important as the digestive, skeletal, muscle, nervous, and respiratory systems. It has been used to trace neurological disorders as we already know, but the evolution of this model also allowed for a deeper understanding of the relationship between skin and nerves. I went to the University of Ottawa Anatomy lab and our class had the opportunity to see, touch and examine cadavers. This experience heightens the senses due to the noticeable smell of the formaldehyde and the wrapped and damp bodies. I had the chance to see a real-life spinal cord, and the anatomy underlying the dermatome, and then compare this experience to this model. Without the help of the painted colors of the dermatome man, it was a bit harder to identify which section I was looking at, but I took that opportunity to see how each segment circulates on a body, their exact distance, and how they branch out to the rest of the body. Thanks to this, I was able to differentiate the Thoracic and Lumbar regions. With this knowledge, I had from seeing the dermatome I wasn't as lost as I thought I would be, which made me understand the medical importance for students to have a model comparable to a live human to study and understand the way the dermatome system is spread out with a close visual and 3-Dimensional maquette.
Credit: Dermatome Man on loan from the Maude Abbott Medical Museum, McGill University.