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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael P Smith, PhD (Texas Tech University)
Description: These musculoskeletal anatomy flash cards are adapted from Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy, 4th edition (Elsevier, 2006), an atlas that has been popular for decades.
Purpose: The purpose of the flash cards is to provide a convenient modality for studying musculoskeletal medicine. The authors supplement the basic anatomy with clinical, radiographic, and arthroscopic images to review the most common musculoskeletal diseases. This is a worthy objective, for there is a critical lack of adequate resources for the study of musculoskeletal anatomy. Unfortunately, I believe these cards fail to meet the objectives.
Audience: The intended target audience encompasses all those studying the basics of musculoskeletal medicine. This is a fairly broad group, and those seeking an adequate resource may be misled. The authors include a physician assistant who is a certified athletic trainer and a medical doctor.
Features: The flash cards include not only the extremities but also the spine, thorax, and abdomen. One crucial omission, in my opinion, is the pelvis and perineum. There is a section identified as "pelvis," but it does not include pelvic floor musculature or urogenital diaphragm muscles. The pictures on the flash cards are from the parent atlas, which means they are of excellent quality. Each anatomical drawing has numbered labels, to correspond with numbers listed on the reverse side of the card identifying the structure. On many of cards, comments attempt to add a little extra detail to the anatomy. There are also muscle tables, where appropriate, that easily identify the muscle origin, insertion, innervation, and action. The best part of the cards is the clinical information in each anatomical section. The authors do an excellent job of presenting clinical correlations and quality images including radiographs, arthroscopic images, and artists' renditions (from Netter). While these cards are a good idea in principle, this set falls short for many reasons. First and foremost, there is wrong information on some of the cards. Some muscles are labeled with wrong innervations or wrong origins or insertions or both. Many of the comments are vague or confusing and sequencing of some of the material is curious. Terms are used that are not anatomically correct. In just one example, the part of the upper extremity between the shoulder and elbow is consistently referred to as the "upper arm." There is no such thing as an "upper arm" in anatomy; it is referred to as the arm.
Assessment: This set of flash cards does an inadequate job of presenting musculoskeletal anatomy. There are too many inconsistencies and too much misinformation to be able to recommend the cards to any student. In addition, the information is very elementary, so they may be useful for a high school or undergraduate anatomy course, but they cannot be recommended for graduate level or medical school anatomy courses because there simply is not enough detail. I have yet to come across musculoskeletal flash cards that are worth the money.