ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Students at Central New Mexico Community College have learned about the human body from cadavers for years. Now those cadavers have been replaced by synthetic, but very realistic cadavers.
CNM received two synthetic cadavers, running at about $50,000 each, from the company SynDaver Labs this summer. Before the synthetic cadavers, CNM’s anatomy and physiology classes would go through six to eight cadavers a year.
Instructor Mark Danley said they had to come up with an alternative because a revamped science building will not have room for a cadaver room.
“They are much more cost effective. They are much more life-like than using a model,” Danley said of the synthetic cadavers. “It is not 100-percent similar to a real cadaver.”
But it comes in a close second.
A synthetic cadaver is a head-to-toe replica of the human body, with synthetic bones, muscles and organs. It’s even made mostly of water, which gives it a more realistic movement. This also means the synthetic cadavers have a long shelf-life– more than five years.
“When a real cadaver dries out, you can’t restore the tissue,” Danley said. “We just soak it in water and it literally begins to rehydrate.”
When CNM still used cadavers, University of New Mexico medical students would have to come in and dissect them on weekends. CNM’s students would only see the final product.
Danley said they realized another perk once they started using the synthetic cadavers in class. Students who typically could not work with cadavers for religious reasons now can with the synthetic version.
“A lot of students, especially if they came from certain native american populations, weren’t allowed to touch the cadaver, they weren’t even allowed to be in the same room,” Danley said.
Currently CNM has just two synthetic cadavers. Danley told KRQE News 13, they hope to purchase two more in the next few years.