Netter's Concise Orthopaedic Anatomy, 2nd edition

by: Jon C. Thompson
404 pp + index, $54.95

This book is the second edition of a popular atlas combining tabular data with Frank Netter images from the Atlas of Human Anatomy, 2nd Edition, and the 13- book Netter Collection of Medical Illustrations. These Netter images are effectively supplemented with both plain film radiographic images and advanced radiographic (CT and MRI) images. The atlas also contains numerous images of cross-sectional anatomy. Throughout the atlas, the basic anatomy is extensively supplemented with clinical applications. Thus, taken together, this book is an excellent review of basic and clinical orthopaedic anatomy, with numerous additional features applicable to teaching not only orthopaedic residents, but also undergraduate medical gross anatomy students.

The atlas is divided into chapters illustrating all regions of the body except for the head. Each chapter is preceded by a detailed table of contents, followed by numerous images of normal anatomy with complementary tables that list key information concerning bones, joints, muscles (including origins and insertions), nerves, and surgical approaches to the skeleton. Clinical orthopaedic clinical conditions applicable to both adults and children are contained within each chapter, including trauma, minor procedures, history and physical exam, skeletal disorders, and radiology. Injections, aspiration, injuries/trauma, and surgical approaches to both the bones and joints are also included.

The information in the tables is color-coded, with green fonts indicating key information and red fonts indicating key information that, if missed by the clinician, could result in either morbidity or mortality for the patient. A list of abbreviations is included near the index, which was somewhat inconvenient for this reader.

The book begins with a basic science chapter, which includes descriptions of bone microanatomical structure of joints, nerves, and muscles, growth and metabolism, and fractures and healing. The index is complete and easy to use.

While the intended audience for the book is orthopaedic residents, the atlas could also be valuable for physical and occupational therapy students during their clinical training. The book could also be effectively used in medical and physical therapy gross anatomy courses containing clinical correlations or designed in a problem-based format. However, it would not be useful in a dental gross anatomy course, in my opinion.

There are several shortcomings to the book that do not negate its usefulness. Many of the pictures are very small and the detail is difficult to see. As a result, the pages appear to be overcrowded with an intimidating amount of labeling. I found several labeling errors in the pictures, but the majority of the book is extremely accurate in both labeling and the use of current terminology. The book fits into a pocket of my clinical coat, so it could be carried into the clinic as a pocket reference for quick acquisition of clinical anatomy facts.

This book would be a useful addition to the library of any anatomist interested in orthopaedics or requiring knowledge of orthopaedics for use in problem-based anatomy courses. However, since many the Netter images within Concise Orthopaedic Anatomy are also contained in The Atlas of Human Anatomy, 2nd edition, in a larger format, the former book would probably not meet the needs of an anatomist with general interests. Nonetheless, I found the atlas to be very informative and interesting and plan to use portions of it as clinical correlations in our gross anatomy course.


Roger B. Johnson, DDS, Ph.D.,
Professor, Department of Anatomy,
University of Mississippi Medical Center

March 2010

  Reviewer Review Date
American Association of Anatomists

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Tel: 301-634-7910 | Fax: 301-634-7965


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