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From The CriticsReviewer: George C. Enders, Ph.D.(University of Kansas Medical Center)
Description: The 12th edition of Grant's is a much improved atlas that medical students will find very useful. While this edition still has classic illustrations, originally drawn from dissected material, it includes many new features. Vivid color has been added to most drawings. There are many new tables of muscles, nerves, vessels, and other structures. Smaller schematic illustrations and extensive additional clinically relevant text appears in blue boxes on the same page as the drawings. There are many new radiological images. Because of the addition of clinically relevant text, the verbiage has ballooned significantly. The addition of tables of information, often right next to the illustrations, highlights why illustrations are so powerful, immediately conveying complex connections and interrelationships that words do inadequately.
Purpose: The atlas is designed for healthcare students and professional healthcare providers. Because chapters often start with surface anatomy photographs and the bony skeleton, then detail the anatomy, and often end with radiological images, the book lends itself to student learning. The original edition of the atlas was a collection of drawings based on cadaveric dissections, which thus logically served as an adjunct to performing human dissection. The 12th edition has strayed furthest of any edition from this initial intent, although in a logical and educationally sound manner. The amount of text, schematic diagrams, radiological images, and surface anatomy illustrations has increased dramatically.
Audience: The audience includes anyone trying to learn anatomy for the ultimate purpose of providing healthcare to patients. To serve this end, many useful blue boxes of clinically relevant information have been added to the same page as the illustration of the detailed anatomic relationships.
Features: Most of the diagrams have been redrawn with enhanced use of color and many new surface anatomy photographs have been added. New schematic diagrams ease communication of clinical points (e.g. inguinal hernias). There are many new, up-to-date radiographs as well as new tables of information such as vessels and lymphatics. The addition of summary diagrams describing lymphatic drainage, usually more difficult to understand or see in a cadaver, is clinically relevant to the practice of medicine. A few specific comments: A long overdue addition to the atlas is the "H" test of extraocular muscles (p. 659) used clinically to assess eye movements, and the testing of each extraocular eye muscle in patients is welcome. The table and illustration of actions of orbital muscles from the "primary position" are confusing and useless to most preprofessional students. While the illustration of the "H" test is a welcome addition, unfortunately, the chosen illustration is incomplete with an inaccurate description of its clinical use in the blue box below it. The illustration of scapular movements (p. 515) is much improved. The ultrasound of the shoulder (p. 537) is rarely used and of little educational value. The hypoglossal nerve (p. 663) is almost never injured during mandibular fractures. Plate 673 of jaw movements is of little use and a waste of space in its current configuration. On page 628 on facial expressions, the illustration of contraction of zygomaticus major and minor is more likely zygomaticus minor and levator labii superioris alaeque nasi muscle. A single table on teeth eruption (p. 689) would be more educational. Why bother illustrating something so abnormal as very large maxillary sinus ostium (p. 695 B and 696 B)?
Assessment: This 12th edition has hundreds of useful images not found just a few editions ago. The organization of each chapter is logical and useful. Most medical students will find the extensive text that accompanies the illustrations helpful in that it provides clinical relevance to the detailed illustrations that were originally designed as guides to dissection. While there is much useful information, most of the new images in Grant's are already found in Moore and Dalley's Clinically Oriented Anatomy, 5th edition (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006), which is the most popular anatomy book for medical professionals.