By Molly Lewis
We’ve all had mini “anatomy panic attacks.” Maybe you’re in an anatomy practical and have only 30 seconds to identify the flagged structure, or maybe you’re in the OR and your attending asks: “What’s this?” Regardless of the situation, using mnemonics to remember anatomy can turn panic into confidence!
Sometimes it’s possible to guess an structure’s name simply using its location- for example, the deep femoral artery. It’s an artery, it’s by the femur, and it’s deep. Other times, however, an artery may have so many branches that it’s difficult just to remember the names, not to mention the order in which they branch off!
I remember these branches using the sentence:
“Some Angry Ladies Fight Off PMS.”
I invented this mnemonic by modifying one I’d found on the Internet (Some Angry Lady Figured Out PMS- from http://www.valuemd.com/anatomy.php). With my version, not only does the mnemonic include a letter for each branch of the artery in the order in which they branch off, but the theme matches, too!
Anger -> pulsing neck veins -> external carotid artery!
Maybe it’s a loose connection, but when you’re under stress and can’t even remember which of the numerous mnemonics you’ve memorized goes with which artery, it’s little tricks like this that help!
Don’t particularly like my mnemonic? Here are some other options:
- Some Anatomists Like Freaking Out Poor Medical Students – http://radiopaedia.org/articles/external–carotid–artery-1
- Some Affluent Ladies Feel Old, Precipitating Major Surgery – http://www.medicaltextbooksrevealed.com/blog/anatomy–mnemonics/
Or, for something a little more edgy:
- Stop Alcohol Late Friday Or Puke More Saturday – http://www.razorrobotics.com/knowledge/?title=External_carotid_artery
(I won’t delve into the, um, less polite options).
So, pick your favorite, or, invent your own! You can build it from scratch, or you can do what I did- tweak a mnemonic so that it’ll work for you! If you invent something brilliant, post it below!