Langman's Medical Embryology, Eleventh Edition

by: T.W. Sadler
385 pp., $62.95

Embryology requires the ability to visualize dynamic microanatomy. This can make study diffcult for students who arrive at medical school having had only a contemporary pre-baccalaureate course that emphasized molecular developmental processes and non-vertebrates. Langman’s Medical Embryology has always been a compact presentation of human embryology for students who took classical pre-baccalaureate frog-chick-pig developmental anatomy, and it provides appropriate organismal tutelage to readers with narrower molecular backgrounds.

When Sadler assumed authorship of earlier editions, he enhanced Langman’s clear diagrams with images of real sectional microanatomy, scanning electron micrographs, and clinical images, and he selectively included molecular/genetic information. This latest edition continues the illustrative enhancements, has updated medical genetics information, and added a glossary of key terms. PowerPoint slides are available to instructors who adopt the text.

Concise writing continues to be a hallmark of this text. Organization is standard: summaries follow each chapter for quick preview or review, clinical correlates are highlighted in boxes, and a few clinical problems end each chapter. Tables present concise summaries such as teratogens with associated malformations and genes associated with skeletal defects. An introduction of general and earliest development precedes chapters presenting system-based embryology.

A strength of this text is that it addresses what an interested practitioner will need to know without drowning readers in encyclopedic minutiae. This text has never presumed to serve as a compendium of all developmental research, but it provides a contemporary view of essential molecular events in development and information about specifc genes connected with particular malformations.

The thinner and slightly larger profle continues in the print edition, but the online version is notably user-friendly. A companion interactive website, thePoint, enhances use of the online text with fully searchable text, fgures enlarge with a simple click, and links jump to fgures, glossary, or Clinical Correlates boxes. A few links in the glossary lead to a related term when necessary. Simbryo animations are concise in word and form, refect classic section diagrams, offer some clinical correlates, and should particularly assist students who have not had previous experience learning to visualize dynamic form.

Instant feedback in online tools should be popular with any user. Answers to clinical problems at the end of each print chapter must be located in the appendix, but answers are available on-line adjacent to the problem via a “view answer” link. An interactive bank of USMLE-style review questions offers options for number of questions, scoring or not, and provides instant feedback about a correct choice in the same window when used in review mode.

Student reactions to previous editions posted as online reviews noted typographical and labeling errors, and there are a few typographical errors in the current Web tools. However, most reviewers recognized this text as a direct, concise, and effcient entry to understanding what we know and do not know about human development and related anomalies. Langman’s Medical Embryology, eleventh edition, continues a tradition of more than 45 years of effcient pedagogy.


Sue Ann Miller, Ph.D.
Professor of Embryology and Anatomy
Hamilton College

December 2009

  Reviewer Review Date
American Association of Anatomists

9650 Rockville Pike Bethesda, Maryland 20814-3998
Tel: 301-634-7910 | Fax: 301-634-7965


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