Anatomy (knowledge) in postgraduate obstetrics and gynaecology training: Is it sufficient enough?

Dorothea Maria Koppes*, Anniko Snoeren, Kim Josephina Bernadette Notten, Annelieke N. Schepens-Franke, Rutgerus Franciscus Petrus Maria Kruitwagen, Fedde Scheele

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Due to the importance, anatomy training is worldwide recognizable in virtually all undergraduate curricula and many postgraduate surgical curricula (Estai and Bunt, 2016; Older, 2004). The postgraduate curriculum of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) is such a surgical curriculum. It is a diverse branch of medicine and the role of anatomy in O&G is versatile. In the Netherlands nor in Europe the expectations of knowledge on anatomy are specified in the current training program, making trainees insecure about their performance in anatomy knowledge (“Better Education for Obsetrics and Gynaecology,”). Therefore, we recently performed a Delphi study to determine which anatomical structures should be taught to ensure safe and competent practice among general gynaecologists (Koppes et al., 2020). The aim of this study is the determination of the anatomical knowledge level in postgraduate training for O&G. Our hypothesis is that the trainees possess a good knowledge of anatomy and on average at least 80% of correct answers on core knowledge is shown. Methods: A longitudinal knowledge analysis was performed under Dutch Trainees Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The anatomy questions of the annual progress tests from 2010 to 2019 were analysed. Anatomy questions were selected and assessed on relevance based on the previous performed Delphi study which identified 86 structures which are essential to perform safe and competent practice as a general gynaecologist. Scores on relevant anatomy questions were calculated. Results: In 10-year 3136 trainees performed the annual progress test. 54 Anatomy related questions were asked on a total of 1637 questions (3.3%). Of these 54 questions, 38 (70%) were concerned as relevant questions. Overall 10-year score was 64.5%. Conclusions: The anatomy knowledge of trainees’ Obstetrics and Gynaecology is insufficient. Our results are a step in the awareness of testing and improving anatomy knowledge of postgraduate O&G training.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151826
JournalAnnals of Anatomy
Early online date30 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • Anatomy knowledge
  • Obstetrics and gynaecology
  • Postgraduate training
  • Progress testing


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