Lippincott's Illustrated Q & A Review of Anatomy & Embryology

Author: H. Wayne Lambert and Lawrence E. Wineski

Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011

234 pages $44.50


Lippincott’s Illustrated Q&A Review of Anatomy & Embryology is intended to be a board review book that presents essential concepts of gross anatomy and embryology in a clinical-vignette format.  The question-answer format is more beneficial to professional students who are preparing for their first year gross anatomy examinations than to those preparing for level one boards.  With that being said, this text is much more than a series of chapter-based practice tests.  It is a learning tool for anatomy coursework with instructional descriptions for correct and incorrect answers. 

The question-explanation sections at the end of each chapter are the strengths of this resource.  These sections provide solid rationalizations to each of the multiple choices provided in the question.  A small, but very helpful detail is the fact that the authors listed what each choice was so you don’t have to flip back and forth between the question page and the explanation page.  To maximize the benefit of learning from one’s mistakes it would have been advantageous to have labeled the new radiographs/schematics found along with the answers so the students could more readily determine why their choice was incorrect.  A reprint of the original image would also be useful so students could link the choice descriptions to the anatomical landmarks of the “trickier” foils.  In both instances, references for each illustration need to be provided to promote resource consultation for additional clarification.

For an illustrative Q & A text, it would be more effective if the question-explanation sections included the original image (plus labels of the other foils) alongside the word-base discussion of the five choices.  For example, a clinical question is given to the student in an image-based format.  The student picks “c” in the labeled radiograph as the pars interarticularis only to learn that the correct answer is “d.”  If the ultimate goal of this resource is to teach the student why the answer indicated is, in fact, the best choice, this text needs to also help the student who can correctly describe the structure to their classmate, but cannot visually identify it.   

I was initially excited to see embryology questions with illustrations (something that is lacking in many reviews), but was somewhat disappointed with the low number of questions dealing with congenital abnormalities and gut embryology.  For the most part, the procedural information was up to date; there were a few exceptions where the question could have been rewritten to discuss relevant anatomy while remaining current in treatment (i.e., the question on episiotomy and writing “emergency department” instead of “emergency room”). 

The Illustrated Q&A Review of Anatomy & Embryology by Lippincott trulyis what its title indicates.  As a whole, the illustrations in this review text do serve a purpose (especially the photos of the extremity model that demonstrate motor and sensory deficits and patient presentations), but a number of the schematics included alongside the clinical questions do not support the question asked or are labeled with aberrant numbers not associated at all with the foils.  Despite some of the shortcomings, the Q & A sections do require the student to visualize 3-D cadaveric anatomy and relate neighboring structures, while helping them learn from their misconceptions.  Overall, the authors provide a worthy review of high-yield anatomy and embryology suitable for professional students to self-test their first-year anatomy course material.


Reviewer: Rebecca L. Pratt, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Division of Human Anatomy, Dept. of Radiology; Michigan State University

Review Date: September 2011

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