Despite changes in the undergraduate medical curriculum, a sound understanding of how the body is built and functions remains fundamental to all aspects of medicine, not least the interpretation of the products of the new imaging systems. Most diagnoses have to be arrived at from an examination of the intact living body and so an understanding of the functional anatomy of the living body and how it should be examined, remains a critical skill for practitioners. The second edition of the Oxford Textbook of Functional Anatomy considers changes in the medical curriculum and pays careful attention to whether or not some item of information is likely to be helpful either in aiding the understanding of the principles of body structure or in everyday clinical practice. As a result, all guidance on dissection and the origins and insertions of individual muscles, on which students in the past have spent a disproportionate amount of time, have been largely removed from the text and are indicated instead of the relevant illustrations. Emphasis on the anatomy of the living subject has been increased, and to underline the increasing importance of non-invasive imaging, there are more computerized tomograms and magnetic resonance imaging. Many of these have been merged with the text in addition to separate subsections which present them in ordered sequence.
Reviewer:Chris A. Klenck, M.D., Pharm.D.(University of Tennessee at Knoxville)
Description:This is a unique three-volume textbook of anatomy that emphasizes the living subject by the use of radiological studies to assist the reader in understanding the subject. The new edition reflects this emphasis as did the first edition published in 1986 and revised edition in 1994.
Purpose:The authors successfully achieve their intention of using medical images to highlight functional anatomy of the living subject as well as incorporating relevant clinical information. This presentation style presents essential information in a manner that may be more appealing to some students than a traditional dissection approach to anatomy.
Audience:The book is primarily written for medical students, but is also useful for students interested in physiotherapy, musculoskeletal medicine, and radiology. The authors' extensive knowledge and expertise in teaching anatomy means the book is written at an appropriate level.
Features:The three volumes cover the musculoskeletal system, thorax and abdomen, and head and neck. Each volume describes the embryonic development, bones, movements, blood and lymphatic supplies, and innervation in a consistent format throughout. The book instructs the reader to physically observe, palpate, and auscultate one's self or colleagues to better comprehend anatomy of the living subject. It then correlates that information with internal anatomy by using various radiology modalities. The book is filled with excellently labeled radiology images as well as highlighted text explaining clinically relevant information. The authors wisely include questions for the reader throughout each chapter with answers provided at the end to ensure important concepts are not missed. Some information pertaining to introduction, body tissues, and medical imaging seems somewhat redundant. Also, many illustrations seem to lack sufficient color, detail, and realistic quality.
Assessment:The textbook provides in-depth coverage of anatomy in a unique way by emphasizing living subjects with physical examination and medical imaging. The new edition effectively incorporates recent advances in radiology. This approach will help students more easily comprehend and retain pertinent information.