Tag Archives: dissection
Anatomy – the first huge hurdle for many medical students to climb over. The anatomical knowledge gleaned in this first course will be used repeatedly as part of the foundation of medical knowledge. With that in mind, a solid foundation of resources is an absolute must. Frank Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy has been the gold standard of anatomy books for many years. Professors stand by the atlas and will expect you to memorize most, if not all, of those beautifully colored structures in the Netter plates.
That being said, it is important to introduce the Thieme Atlas of Anatomy by Gilroy. Its 2,200 beautiful images have been painstakingly drawn by Markus Voll and Karl Wesker, and appear to jump off the page. The book takes a different approach from other atlases, by starting with deep structures and working its way superficially. This allows for an understanding of the foundation of the body and how the other structures add on to it. At the end of each section, questions are posed to allow the reader to integrate the knowledge they have learned.
The book not only covers gross anatomy, but also illustrates peripheral innervations, arterial supply and venous drainage, lymphatics, etc. The anatomy is bolstered by clinical correlations, and important details are summarized in wonderfully easy-to-understand tables. The Muscle Fact pages organize the essentials of origin, insertion, innervations in one place, making it much easier to memorize and review. The book also comes with access to WinkingSkull.com PLUS, Thieme’s online resource and study aid, which gives the user access to over 600 plates with removable labels, and quizzing capabilities.
The largest, and only, detriment to using the Thieme atlas is that most professors still stand by the Netter atlas, and reference page numbers during lectures. To remedy this, Thieme has composed a table which compares Netter plate numbers to Thieme’s, allowing students to find similar plates.
Overall, this is a highly recommended book that many students believe far surpasses Netter in providing comprehensive and integrative anatomy knowledge to beginning anatomy students and pro’s alike.
Surgical Recall is one of those third year med student books that can be your secret phone-a-friend ace up your sleeve, and concurrently your downfall. There are a number of books you will encounter throughout medical school where the outcome of that class or clerkship is dependent on how the book is used. Just as you wouldn’t use Netter’s or Rohen’s to replace an anatomy text, Surgical Recall must be used properly.
As the title implies, Surgical Recall is your guide to all things pimping on surgery. Unless surgery is your first rotation, you should already be aware that the pimping starts on the very first day. Accordingly, you should ideally grab a copy of this during the weekend before your surgery clerkship starts and dig in quite a bit by time you hit the first day. This is the book that’s going to help you avoid looking like a total newbie, because common surgical etiquette and culture is not taught in preclinical classes. This is the book that’s going to tell you all the usual abbreviations, the names of all the different scissors you enounter, why you should NEVER touch the mayo tray (and what that is), and all of the common pimp questions you will commonly encounter.
Like other books in the Recall series, Surgical Recall uses a split page question and answer format that quizzes the reader on all the common things seen in surgery. The book does a good job in its use of pictures, especially on sections dedicated to surgical instruments and consumables. This is important as most third year med students don’t know what a JP drain is, what JP stands for, what they look like, and how they are different from other drains. You could responsively google “JP drain” right now, but you won’t know the names of all the other commonly used tools, which is why this book is helpful.
The latest edition (as seen above) has taken on a somewhat retro look. Perhaps market research has shown med students go for books that are already on fire to quell the need to later set them ablaze in frustration, or perhaps this just allows for the subsequent edition to look modernized in comparison. Nonetheless, we can’t judge a book by its cover, else the BRS series of books would have gone extinct long ago. The first section of Surgical Recall is going to touch on the big picture and background of surgery, including abbreviations, surgical signs, syndromes, cutting, suturing, tying, instruments, preoperative requirements, wound care, hemostasis, nutrition, shock, complications, and surgical anatomy pearls. Section II goes over the main general surgery areas, including GI hormones, GI bleeds, hernias, laparoscopy, trauma, burns, bariatric surgery, appendicitis, ostomies, fistulas, IBD, portal hypertension, other hepatobiliary diseases, the breast, endocrine, melanoma, vascular, and intensive care unit knowledge. The third and final section hits the surgical subspecialties, including pediatrics, plastics, hand, otolaryngology, thoracic, cardiovascular, transplant, orthopedics, neurosurgery, and urology. This book is around 800 pages long, and while the question and answer format allows for a faster read, you should generally focus on the general surgery knowledge and the topics that specifically correspond to your surgical service.
Included with this latest version is the promise of free “Mobile Access.” As of now, the jury is still out as to whether this is legitimate, as a number of students have had a hard time actually accessing it through their phones without paying the additional ~$45 app price through Android or Apple. It may be fixed in the future, but don’t purchase this book thinking it will instantly be on your phone.
Surgical Recall can be the downfall for the occasional medical student who believes this is the only book needed during surgery. Indeed it will seem like a cheat sheet, whereby memorizing this book will produce superstar results in the operating room and floors (and it will). However, the NBME Surgery Shelf Exam doesn’t care about the things that make awesome operating room medical students that get all the obscure attending questions. There is no Surgery Shelf question on one-handed ties, no Surgery Shelf question on drain choices, and no Surgery Shelf question on how your attending likes their coffee. Make the distinction: there is OR / floor knowledge, and there is NBME Surgery Shelf exam knowledge, with a minority of overlap. You need both to go for the gold on your surgery clerkship, and Surgical recall is the tool to help with the former.
Histology has generally fallen out of favor and focus for many medical school curricula these days. Some med schools still have dedicated histology courses and mandatory histo labs with ridiculously priced slide sets, but most have transitioned to incorporating histology within other broader classes, and offer newer digital versions of labs. Due to this transition, as well as the driving field of pathology, countless databases and software packages have been developed to allow for histopathological visualization of electronic slides.
Whether your school’s applications allows for “real time” zooming and scrolling, or just splatters the screen with images, most software options are not particularly great at teaching the topic. All too commonly, we as med students have instructions that go along with slides and read something like “as it is clearly seen, the eosinophilic uptake shows…” Most of the time however, we have no idea what we are “clearly” looking at. Short of capturing a live histologist and forcing them to use the neon microscope arrows to directly point out key structures to make sense of it all, the next best thing is using a database that directly points to, circles, colors in, and directly labels what you need to know.
There are few free online databases out there, but the Histology Learning System from Boston University is among the best. Sure the background is a dull gray and the site navigation is a bit static, but the content and (more importantly) label system are a sure fire way to both learn and teach the material. This is especially useful when you find yourself needing to put together that annoying last minute power point presentation for some small group show-and-tell the next day.
The database breaks down all of histology by system, and also has a sitemap with every image listed. Upon loading an image, users have the option of clicking on the LABEL button to figure out what they’re actually viewing, or click on a black rectangle on the image to increase magnification (enhance!) that structure. Some structures are rather straight forward and have no enhanced images, while others can go several layers deep. Chances are, the histology professor or local guru at your medical school can recognize the BU histology database images on sight, as they are relatively well known in the community and characteristic.
Whether you need a complementary learning tool to be used with your class syllabus, a stand alone reference as you go through medical school, or a database of “normals” to contrast with pathology studying, the BU Histology website is highly recommended.
To prove your gunnery and attain bonus internet points, name the structures contained within this post by commenting here.
The age old debate once again emerges. This post will attempt to sort out the confusion to help you make the best decision on your first year med school anatomy atlas purchase. While the main issue is almost always Netter or Rohen, there are actually a few other contenders that will be briefly discussed as well.
First, it is important to specify that there are both better books, and different books. What that means is that Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy (reviewed in full here) is going to be a better learning tool than most of its low budget imitators. However there are also apples-and-oranges comparisons, which is where Rohen’s Color Atlas of Anatomy (reviewed in full here) comes into play.
So which to choose? Rohen or Netter? The difference lies in how you like to study. Rohen’s Color Atlas of Anatomy is going to excel at providing actual cadaver pictures, so what you study in the book is exactly what you will be tested on in your anatomy practical exams. Rohens’ also has the benefit of only numbering structures that require a legend, so it is perfect for quizzing – simply cover the answer sheet. However, anatomy is hard for a number of reasons, one such difficulty being that multiple flesh colored structures easily blend together. As a solution, Frank Netter produced his famous Atlas of Human Anatomy, which covers all the same anatomy as Rohen, but with drawings. His illustrations have the benefit of being able to clearly show the borders of structures with differences in coloring, making the anatomy easier to understand (whereas Rohen paints a small minority of structures to a less effective degree). Tiny anatomy like nerves or vasculature pop off the page with contrast from their backgrounds with Netter. The down side is that Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy isn’t completely representative of anatomy practicals, as exams are not so conveniently color coded.
This ultimately comes down to a decision of clarity or authenticity. In the end, the debate will always be split based on this and how each individual person studies. It is recommended that you use both, depending on the situation, to get the best of both worlds. Specifically, Netter’s is a great first-pass reference book to help identify structures when initially exposed to the material, whereas Rohen’s is going to solidify existing understanding based on the actual visuals. In other words, a good strategy is to use Netter’s first, then go to Rohen’s. As owning both books can get costly, try to own the one that appeals most to you, and borrow the other from an opposite-minded friend or the library.
Rohen’s and Netter’s Anatomy Atlases are not the only Anatomy books out there, though they are generally better than most. Some other options deserve honorable mention.
The Sobatta Atlas of Human Anatomy (volume 1 and volume 2) is a hidden gem that breaks up the entire body into tremendous detail across two volumes. Many believe the quality of the illustrations themselves actually surpass Netter’s. It is important to note that this book distinguishes itself from the others by identifying all of the anatomical structures by their latin names. For a surprising majority of structures, this naming system is perfectly fine, as a good amount of anatomy is already latin. If you can use this book effectively, you will come out with a deeper understanding of the anatomy, its function, and its naming system. For example, ab muscles are called Rectus Abdominis because “rectus” comes from the latin for “straight.” Keep in mind that these will increase understanding, but at the time-cost of mastering part of a different language. Own both volumes if you can afford them, but otherwise it is worth going out of your way to find them in your school’s medical library.
Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy is another illustrated book. Unlike Netter, Rohen, and Sobatta, there’s just nothing really special to speak of. It highlights the anatomy and will help your studies, but generally doesn’t bring anything more to the table compared to the above books. Grant’s Dissector, (not to be confused with the Atlas) works particularly well for anatomy lab, but should not be purchased if your med school requires a different book. If they do require Grant’s Dissector, or you purchase it because they don’t require any book at all, you’re in good hands.
Lastly, honorable mention must be given to the epic original (but currently outdated) Gray’s Anatomy, originally named Gray’s Anatomy Descriptive and Surgical. No, it was not named after the TV show. Since the original, a number of revisions and companion books have been produced by new editors under the same name, including Gray’s Atlas of Anatomy, Gray’s Anatomy Review, Gray’s Anatomy for Students, and Gray’s Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice (seen right). See that sticker on the front cover that says “150 years?” That’s there because the original author, Henry Gray, was born in 1827. While anatomy hasn’t changed much since then, our understanding and technology has improved slightly past the mostly black-and-white images from the original Gray’s Anatomy, which can be found for free at Bartleby’s Online Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body. As you go through med school and use Dr. Wikipedia, you’ll see many of the original images from Gray’s Anatomy used as a reference (example below). The above book and many of its similarly name renditions contain up to date text and illustrations, but they are generally anatomy textbooks and not dedicated atlases like the abovementioned publications, to be reviewed at a later time. Gray’s Anatomy is mentioned here for historic reference as the influential publication that really pioneered the way of the illustrated Anatomy Atlas.
Rohen’s Color Atlas of Anatomy: A Photographic Study of the Human Body, more lovingly referred to simply as “Rohen’s” has a deceptive cover. The anatomy picture on the front looks cartoonish, and the “color atlas” in the name sounds like it’s a coloring book. Do not overlook this med school anatomy book, as it is a big push to increasing your chance of getting Honors on your first med school class.
It is another anatomy atlas, yes, but instead of using drawings like Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy, it excels by using actual cadaver photographs to directly show the anatomy. What this means is that the images in Rohen’s Color Atlas of Anatomy closely approximate what will be seen on every one of your anatomy practical exams in full color, but without the smell of having to actually go into anatomy lab. Later in third year, in comes in handy on surgery to identify key anatomic landmarks and surgical planes of dissection.
One of the other benefits of this atlas is that it labels structures with numbers which are referenced on another part of the page. This legend can be covered, turning the Anatomy Atlas into an instant study guide for quizzing oneself on anatomic structures. It also comes with access to the online text, which makes it portable and viewable on many smart phones.
Some med students make the mistake of trying to bring this book into anatomy lab. As with any other resource, the lab is not the place for Rohen’s Color Atlas of Anatomy unless you want to ruin your book. Everyone at medstudentbooks has the utmost respect for cadaver donors, but this warning must be expressed: liquefied adipose and fixatives get over everything brought into the lab. You do not want to bring that home on your books and have it touching anything else. Use older free copies in the lab, even though they are mildly outdated, or hope your anatomy laboratory partners haven’t found this site or don’t care if their books are ruined.
The book hits on all of the expected anatomy, being everything. The order of its units is as follows: General Anatomy Principles, Skull and Muscles of the Head, Cranial Nerves, Brain and Sensory Organs, Oral and Nasal Cavities, Neck and its Organs, Trunk, Thoracic Organs, Abdominal Organs, Retroperitoneal Organs, Upper Limb, and Lower Limb Anatomy.
As with any real cadaver pictures, care must be taken where the book is opened. While this is a superior resource for studying anatomy, it should not be opened in public areas such as buses or parks out of respect for those around you. As young medical professionals, it is easy to overlook the sensitivity of this issue. However, we are charged with maintaining professional behavior, which includes restricting the sights found in this book to other medical professionals.
If you’re the type of person who needs to visualize real images to crystallize the learning, Rohen’s Atlas of Anatomy is the book for you.
Frank Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy 5th Edition is another must-have book for all of medical school and beyond, and serves as an excellent reference and resource for Anatomy class and the Surgery clerkship later in medical school. It also comes with Student Consult, which is an online resource library of other illustrations, supplemental learning resources, and anatomy dissection guides.
Anatomy hasn’t changed much over the years, yet they still tend to keep coming out with newer editions of Netter’s drawings, despite Dr. Netter passing away several years ago. Nevertheless, Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy is comprised of labeled diagrams, which provide clear pictures with ideal visualization, and overviews every inch of anatomic detail with precise vocabulary to help with easy recognition and retainment of human anatomy. The book itself is broken down by physical areas of the body, and details every physical structure and network, including nerves, arteries, and veins.
Many students find this an ideal way to study for Human Anatomy written exams, but as they are only drawings, some find cadaver pictures in books such as Rohen’s Color Atlas of Anatomy (reviewed here) to be a complementary supplement. The book is also well supported by the popular and more-portable Netter’s Anatomy Flash cards. As with all resources, it is recommended these are not brought into anatomy lab unless you want them quickly ruined with fat and fixatives.
The below links can be used to find and buy the cheapest version of Frank Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy.