Anatomical Series: The Pancreas

So my regular readers probably have a couple of questions for me. Where have I been for the past few months? Now that I’m back, why is my first post an introduction to the Edinburgh Stereoscopic Atlas of Anatomy, instead of some of the Great War glass I’ve obtained recently? The answers to both can be summed up in a few sentences:

In January I got what I thought was a stomach flu. In February I was barely able to eat. By March I was willing to admit myself to hospital – something I deeply loathe doing. As it turns out, I had a gall stone which led me to develop pancreatitis – an inflammation of the pancreas. Not fun. I’ve been out of hospital for the better part of a week now, and I’m fine, although it will take me a while to get my strength back.

But what exactly is a pancreas? I did a little digging, and it’s a gland that allows you to digest food. It has both exocrine and endocrine functions – both producing things like insulin to regulate body sugar, and helping to digest carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Unlike, say, the appendix, one cannot live without a pancreas. So it’s a good thing that I got some great healthcare.

Which brings us to the topic of today’s post: the pancreas, as published by the Edinburgh Stereoscopic Atlas of Anatomy, 1st Edition (I have the Revised Edition as well). A little background here: Edinburgh University had been, throughout the 19th century, the premier institution for the teaching of anatomy. This was partially due to the fact that, unlike most places, Scotland allowed the autopsy and photographing of cadavers – a practice frowned on by non-medical-professionals in most parts of the world. Students flocked to the great, multi-tiered autopsy theatre to watch skilled doctors slowly dissect human cadavers – there was no Gross Anatomy for first-year medical students back then! Never mind that some of the cadavers came from Burke and Hare; it was still tops in the world through most of the 1800s.

But students in far-away countries like America could not sit in on these procedures, and so over a dozen volumes of anatomical stereoviews, each pasted onto the bottom of an explanation card, were produced – in Edinburgh naturally. I will present seven such images below – as stereo pairs for parallel viewing first. Second will come the full sheets, and finally, as always, an anaglyph gallery. Enjoy!

7. Pancreatic impression / 9. Area for the terminal part of the pancreas
3. Tail of pancreas
7. Tail of the pancreas
2. Duct of the pancreas in the neck of the gland / 3. Lower part of the head of the pancreas / 5. Body of the pancreas
5. Head of pancreas / 7. Tail of pancreas
11. Body of pancreas
4. Head of pancreas / 9. Tail of pancreas / 16. Body of pancreas

And here are the full sheets, which as always can be clicked to expand:


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