The "Institute of Anatomy" Graz in its present shape exists as an independent institute since the foundation of the School of Medicine in 1863 and is situated in Harrachgasse since the first house for the institutes of anatomy and physiology was built in 1870-1872. The institute is not divided into departments, but there is a series of workgroups (anatomy and imaging, anatomy and trauma surgery, biomechanics, development of surgical techniques, plastination).
The Institute of Anatomy represents the field of anatomy as a medical-scientific basic subject at the Medical University of Graz. Both in education and in research it is dedicated to macroscopic structure under systematic, topographic, practical and causal points of view. The contents of anatomical education teach the fundamentals of science based medicine. The use of anatomical terminology introduces the principles of medical language, which represents an essential foundation for teaching medical contents and creates the basis for international medical communication. From the cadaver the student gets knowledge and comprehension of shape and function of living man at the very beginning of the medical study and gets his/her first training in scientific way of thinking. Students get familiar with ethic acting by their first teacher-guided operations in the human cadaver. Consequently, anatomy holds a core position even in this point of view, as they will be prepared to ethic standards and social behavior.
The Institute of Anatomy uses special methods, such as dissection, expert autopsies, exploration of body cavities and organs, preparation of the different structures, perservation of cadavers, imaging procedures including computer-bases 3D-reconstruction of CT-data as well as animation of developmental anatomy - and moving cavities, blood and lymph vessels, plastination of organs, registration and visualization of anatomy is not covered by any other institute or department of the Medical University Graz and differs from those institutes and departments, that also carry out autopsies by the purposes of these autopsies. In pathology autopsies are performed to determine the cause of death, in forensic medicine to investigate eventual criminal cause of death, whereas, in anatomy autopsies are performed to explain gross anatomy of the human organism, which ist not altered by decease.
The institute of Anatomy Graz enjoys an internationally high reputation continuously for decades, justified by the special quality of education, its modern technical equipment and its applied-clinical orientation. A worldwide level of acquaintance was reached by the embalming method by Thiel, which renders the tissues of the body into a stable state, however, leaving it in lifelike flexibility and color. These embalmed cadavers provide the best basis for dissections as well as for the development and training of surgical methods. Meanwhile many institutes worldwide have adopted this procedure. Many representatives of the field anatomy have acquired this knowledge in Graz.