Anatomy word of the month: bursa

January 1, 2013 —

empty-purseA bursa, Latin for a little bag or purse, is a closed fluid-filled sack that is typically found in places where a tendon crosses a bone or a muscle comes in contact with bone. It acts as a shock absorber and protection against friction damage to tendons, primarily. They are found in and around our shoulder and elbow joints among other places. Inflammation of a bursa is called bursitis, a term most people have heard of or may have suffered with at some time. Pain and limitation of range of motion of a joint can be caused by bursitis, although there can be other causes. At some universities the official responsible for paying out funds is called the Bursar, literally, “holder of the purse”. After the official has “disbursed” all funds, he or she has literally emptied the purse!


Dr. Dyche was born in New Jersey and trained at Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center before coming to Des Moines in 1976. Over 30 plus years he has taught gross anatomy, embryology and neuroanatomy. He also served in administration as associate dean for basic sciences, dean of the College of Health Sciences, and acting director of the PA program. He was one of the founding instructors of CPR and ACLS at a time when few medical schools offered this training. He retired to Oregon in 2008, then returned to DMU in 2009. Did he miss the tornadoes, the below zero wind chills or the cadavers?

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