The development of a core syllabus for teaching musculoskeletal anatomy of the vertebral column and limbs to medical students Academic Article uri icon


  • The study of human anatomy is fundamental to medical education globally. Knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy is essential for safe and effective clinical practice, yet this topic often receives insufficient medical program time and perceptions differ regarding which knowledge is core. Given the lack of syllabuses specific to musculoskeletal anatomy, this article aims to provide a detailed syllabus for the vertebral column and limbs relevant to medical students. A Delphi panel comprising anatomists and clinicians rated 2,260 anatomical structures and concepts as "essential," "important," "acceptable," or "not required," with evaluations based around the core knowledge deemed acceptable for a competent medical student. Based on the percentage of panelist agreement for an item to be considered "essential," each item was then classified as core (≥60%), recommended (30%-59%), not recommended (20%-29%), or not core (<20%). Items not classified as core or recommended but rated important by greater than 50% of the panel were highlighted for future consideration. A total of 252/389 musculoskeletal concept items were categorized as core or recommended. The number of core or recommended items for the vertebral column, upper limb, and lower limb were 220/438, 322/663, and 318/770, respectively. Ninety-six items were recommended for future consideration. The results of this Delphi panel will be published on the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists website for continuing international consideration and deliberation by relevant stakeholders. The aim is to set an internationally recognized syllabus, that covers the minimum musculoskeletal content that is academically and clinically relevant. Clin. Anat. 32:974-1007, 2019. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

publication date

  • 2019