Illustrated Clinical Anatomy

February 23, 2012

Authors: Peter H. Abrahams, John L. Craven, John S.P. Lumley and Jonathan D. Spratt

Edition: Second

Publisher: Hodder Arnold

Pages: 400

Price: £34.99

ISBN: 9781444109252

This book aims to provide both medical students and postgraduate doctors with all the anatomy they need in a single volume, and is informed by the recommendations of both the British Association of Clinical Anatomists and the American Association of Clinical Anatomists. This is a tough assignment, as the amount of anatomy covered by medical schools now varies considerably depending on their educational ethos.

The basic design of the book is traditional and based on regions of the body, with each structure described by shape, relations and attachments, accompanied by clear line drawings. The text is laid out in two columns, with colour-coded chapters and about three photographs and three diagrams in each two-page spread, and is written in a readable style. However, the size of the book inevitably means that the coverage of each topic is fairly basic. There are a few questions and answers at the end of each chapter and they are well chosen to confirm whether you have understood the material, but with only about five questions per chapter, they are of limited use.

The big advance here over older-style anatomical texts is the quantity and quality of clinical photographs and radiological images, which are closely linked to the text and clearly annotated. There are also frequent short clinical sections interspersed with the text, which explain the importance of the anatomy to clinical medicine.

There is an online version activated by a code inside the front page (quick and easy), and this gives you three options: to view the book online; to download a program called the “Bookshelf” which will then allow you to access all the content on your computer; or to access the software through your tablet. The web content is pretty much a direct swap from printed page to web page with all the text and images able to be copied and pasted (although copyright remains with the authors), so while it is easy to use the images for teaching, the material cannot be freely distributed.

Interactivity is limited, with hyperlinks to the images but no definitions or external links that I could find. The questions in particular are presented in exactly the same format as the book, with the hyperlinks at the start of each question all linking to the page with all the answers for that chapter. It’s a pity that the possibilities of the web have not been exploited more fully.

Overall, this book is a great basic anatomy text; it is clearly written and presented and covers the vast majority of core anatomy for both medical students and doctors. However, it is basic and the online version adds little to the interactivity.

Who is it for? Medical students and postgraduate doctors.

Presentation: Clear and colourful, with lots of images and clinical detail.

Would you recommend it? Yes. It’s a good purchase for anyone who needs the basics in an accessible format.

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