Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy (6th Ed.)

One of the leading human anatomy textbooks has just turned 25 and it’s better than ever.

Overview
The 6th edition of Atlas of Human Anatomy by Dr. Frank H. Netter brings new anatomy images/plates, radiological images, and charts to this 25th Anniversary Edition.

This book spans 8 sections: 1) Head and Neck, 2) Back and Spinal Cord, 3) Thorax, 4) Abdomen, 5) Pelvis and Perineum, 6) Upper Limb, 7) Lower Limb, and 8) Cross-Sectional Anatomy. Since the last edition, Dr. Carlos Machado has added new anatomy images/plates including breast lymph drainage, the pterygopalantine fossa, the middle ear, the internal carotid artery pathway, the posterior aspect of the knee. It also has new images/plates on the arteries of the limbs as well as new radiological images.

The most notable additions to this textbook are the muscle charts at the end of each section. Muscles are listed in alphabetical order and colour-coded based on region grouping (e.g. “facial expression”, “thoracic wall”, and “pelvic floor”). Their origin and insertion are stated, as well as their innervation, main action(s), and vascular supply. Many other anatomy textbooks contain these charts, so it’s great to see that this Netter series is now doing the same.

The 6th edition also includes a new Student Consult access consisting of a suite of interactive tools and guides. Access includes fully searchable and downloadable images (browsing by either region or system), downloadable muscle charts, self-testing exercises formatted from selected images, multiple choice questions, dissection videos, illustrated cross-sections, over 50 bonus images/plates from previous editions (e.g. changes over time and anatomic variations), 3D models and videos from Netter’s 3D Anatomy, and numerous other helpful features.

Strengths:

  • Clean and detailed images with easy to read labeling (as always)
  • Student Consult online access available to further understanding and information retention
  • Muscle charts at the end of each section, listed alphabetically and colour-coded by muscle group/region

Weaknesses:

  • Listing the muscles within each region/group may have been a better option rather than listing all of the muscles within the chapter alphabetically (referencing can be easier this way, especially, for example, if the reader can’t remember the name of the muscle he/she is looking-up!)
  • The muscle charts contain a few errors (e.g. the origin of the hamstring part of adductor magnus is listed as “sciatic nerve [tibial division]”)
  • A lot of the muscle actions listed need rewording and clarification, e.g. semimembranosus/semitendinosus read “flexes leg”, rather than reading “flexes lower leg at knee joint, extends thigh at hip joint”

Summary
Besides the muscle charts requiring revision, Netter’s 6th edition of Atlas of Human Anatomy is another solid installment to this series. It’s geared towards health care professionals from across the many disciplines, as well as those who enjoy a good anatomy “geek-out” for interest’s sake.

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