When you enroll in medical school, one of the first courses you will take is anatomy. Learning the human anatomy can be quite rough. There is A LOT of information you will need to learn and memorize. Moreover, there are the dissections.
Most medical students take quite a while before they get used to the idea of cutting into a dead, preserved human. This experience can be hard. However, it is also a unique opportunity for you to learn about the body.
With that said, you should have the best resources to help you learn and understand the human anatomy. On the same note, you do not want to end up with what we refer to as “resource overload”. In this post, we will review the best anatomy books for medical students.
Best Anatomy Book for Medical Students
Anatomy books for medical school can be categorized into two: textbooks and atlases. In most cases, you should use one book for a course. But anatomy is one of those rare exceptions where you will find it useful to rely on multiple books.
Below is an overview of the best anatomy textbooks and atlases that we recommend.
Best Anatomy Books
Anatomy is one of the visual disciplines in medical school. Some people learn better through visual learning while others prefer reading. If you fall in the latter, an anatomy book will help you a lot. A textbook can help you understand how anatomy ties to clinical and physiology concepts.
There are only two anatomy textbooks you will need:
1. Moore’s – Best Anatomy Book for Beginners
Officially known as the Clinically Oriented Anatomy by Keith Moore, this textbook is a widely used resource and the best anatomy book for medical students. You can use the book as a resource for areas where you need help understanding or read it cover-to-cover.
The Moore’s draws in on clinical correlations to anatomy. This is how anatomy is often tested in exams. Apart from this, the book lays a nice foundation for the third year, when you will in the OR or ward.
The Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas by Johannes Rohen, also commonly known as Rohen’s is another helpful anatomy book for medical students. We recommend this books for preparing for lab anatomy. This is just an anatomy atlas but instead of illustrations, it has photographs of dissected cadavers.
The book does not offer as many images/perspectives of the anatomy and, hence, is not really necessary as a regular atlas. However, the images are more realistic and can make it easier for you to understand anatomy concepts.
Best Anatomy Atlases
Unlike textbooks that mostly have text, anatomy atlases are filled with a lot of pictures of the human body. The books show the anatomy in many angles, planes, and varieties as possible. The atlases help you see how a structure classically looks like and where it is located in relation to other parts of the body. Think of an anatomy atlas like a dictionary or reference guide.
An anatomy atlas is an indispensable book in medical school. If you have trouble visualizing what you have learned in a textbook, the atlas will help to make things clear. If you are looking for the best anatomy atlas for medical school, the following are the only books you will need:
Netter’s, officially known as the Atlas of Human Anatomy by Frank H. Netter, is the best anatomy atlas for medical students. While you may have heard of Gray’s Anatomy, it is not as widely used today as Netter’s.
The Netter’s has many hand-drawn representations of the human body. This atlas has nothing but pictures of the human body (known as “anatomy plates). However, the pictures are not accompanied by any text of descriptions.
If you would like an anatomy atlas that has descriptions, you should check the Thieme.
The Atlas of Anatomy published by Thieme, or simply the “Thieme Atlas” is another popular anatomy atlas for medical students. The book has digitally drawn images that contain some tables of information and descriptions. It also has MRIs/CT of much of the anatomy.
The Thieme has more representations or images of the human body than Netter’s. Many medical students feel more comfortable with the Thieme.
Other Recommended Anatomy Books
The Color Atlas of Anatomy has more than just drawings and illustrations of the human body; it provides actual photographs of the human body through actual cadaver dissections. The use of real cadavers will help you see the layers of the human body in detail.
The medical anatomy atlas also has diagnostic images (including endoscopic techniques, CT scans, and MRI scans), illustrations, and schematic drawings to help you further understand the human anatomy.
If you are just starting out in Anatomy & Physiology 101 or another beginner course, the Anatomy & Physiology for Dummies is a great introductory book into the realm of science. In the book, you will learn the facts and concepts of anatomy and physiology, especially the complexities of the three main organ systems of the body.
Other topics that are covered in the book include respiratory, endocrine, digestive, and circulatory systems. This is a good companion book for medical students just starting out in anatomy and physiology.