Human anatomy?

I’m in pre med and I had to disscet a rat the other day. It was dead and it really stunk. I mean when we cut it open the smell was awful. My question is when they cut people open during surgery do the smell ,too?

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9 comments

  • i am in medical school too…
    what we did during in human anatomy classes practical were, we were given a human cadavre.. and since its dead and preserved with formalin, it stinks in a different way (yuck! i hate that smell) and it brings tears in your eyes.. but it won’t stink that bad.
    and while you undergo surgery on living person ( we haven’t done yet).. as far as i think, it won’t stink as bad as your rat did… until & unless you get the digestive residues ( like in intestinal obstruction, appendicitis, etc.) and yes blood smells somewhat different too.. not so good smell though.
    anyway good luck with your course 🙂

  • Not if they are alive. The rat stunk because it was dead.

    I guess it depends on where the surgery is. If you are performing surgery on the intestines, you will obviously smell feces, or surgery on the stomach, you willl smell the stomach juices (I’m not so technical with terms, here), etc…

  • that stink is caused by amines that form from dead cells… so if you are not operating a dead person….no, it doesnt
    or that’s the smell of formole you felt..

  • The rat was dead and could have started decomposing, or had been immersed in some sort of preservative, like formol, and that does stink.
    When I had minor surgery done (under local anesthetic) I did not smell anything special. But it was in the hand. In the abdomen, it might be a different story…

  • Smokers do have an odor to their blood, but other than that a healthy, living human body won’t produce an odor when cut into.

  • There is an odour during surgery beside the anesthetic. If there’s a disease process open to the air, ie. cancer of the liver, its smells like old blood. If operating on the digestive system, ie. colonectomy, although the preprocedure empties it to prepare it for surgery, may have some gaseious odours related to the problem with the colon. The surgical room is usually decreased in temperature to help decrease the circulation in the patient but as well it can decrease some odours. I found the worst one was cancer of the throat of a smoker, it was aweful. Stomach cancern was another that had a foul odour from stomach acid and bile. Most of the time surgeries dont have any type of "smell" other than the hospital smell. I used to put Vicks mentholatum up my nose and wouldn’t notice the smell as bad and it would be minty fresh. You will get used to it after time.

  • More than likely it will smell bad. It’s a dead body of course it will. Most of the smell you will inhale will be embalming fluid.

  • Here’s the real deal on smells in the OR.

    Cutting into people produces a very mild smell of blood, if there is any real bleeding. The electrocautery device makes a horrible smell, the odor of burning flesh (because that is what it does – burns blood vessels so they don’t bleed).

    The real treat is a case of gangrenous (dead) bowel. That stinks up the entire OR, and we often put oil of wintergreen or benzoin inside our masks to avoid losing our lunches.

    C-sections smell of amniotic fluid, which isn’t bad, it just has a characteristic smell.

    What you smelled was formalin, which does stink. You’ll really get your fill of it when you dissect a human being in anatomy class in medical school. I still shudder when I think of those days!

  • Live people aren’t so bad. If you liked the rat, you’ll love gross anatomy in medical school. At the end of our freshman year, we had a bonfire and burned our lab coats (and drank a lot of beer).

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