Examination of Unilateral, Partial Rectus Abdominis Absence in a Cadaveric Dissection

  • Kathryn Hall Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Erika Anaya


A team of medical student researchers encountered a human cadaver specimen during a structured dissection program that presented with a partially absent right rectus abdominis. Without a medical history of known trauma nor peripheral neurological compromise, this team began researching for potential causes of such a specific and localized loss of normal muscle anatomy. Later, a discovery of a missing gallbladder and metal staple in the remains of a cystic duct led this team to conclude thoracic spinal nerve injury during a cholecystectomy likely led to ipsilateral rectus abdominis atrophy.