When studying anatomy, having a good and detailed perception of the structures, where they are located and what surrounds them is crucial. So which atlas should you buy that will truly provide everything you need?
I mostly use a Sobotta set of 3 separate anatomy atlases (16th edition);
- General Anatomy and Musculoskeletal System
- Internal Organs
- Head, Neck and Neuroanatomy
- Booklet that contains a list of muscles by different regions and their origins, insertion, function and innervation – all you need to know about a muscle.
I also own Gray’s Basic Anatomy that I got as a gift. The one I got is not very detailed but contains nice images that help visualising structures a lot. I also like that it has a lot of text that describes the structures. What I don’t like with this atlas is that it has only English nomenclature. This is not too bad because English and Latin are similar, but it’s still important to own an Atlas with Latin nomenclature so that you can learn the correct terms for the structures.
Besides Sobotta and Gray’s anatomy I sometimes use Netter’s or Gilroy’s atlas because I find some things better portrayed there, but this is just for better understanding, you can learn with Sobotta just as good.
Now let’s go over each one more in-depth.
Sobotta Atlas of Anatomy
First day of medical school we were recommended to choose either Sobotta, Gilroy, Netter or Gray’s Atlas of Anatomy. I was choosing between Sobotta and Gilroy because they were more accessible in our bookstores and had a student discount.
I chose Sobotta Atlas of Anatomy because after comparing it to Gilroy’s seemed to have better and more detailed illustrations. One of the reasons was also the fact that it comes in 3 thick books rather than just one enormous and heavy book. This is why a lot of my classmates did choose Gilroy – because everything is in one place; in one book. I found carrying 1 not so heavy book with me easier than having to carry one very heavy book, because I often studied in library and they didn’t always have Atlases available to borrow. It’s true that I didn’t have everything with me but I planned my free periods studying around the Atlas that I would take to school that day.
I’m very pleased with Sobotta Atlas although I couldn’t always locate all the detailed structures and had to use the internet to locate it.
What I like about Sobotta a lot is that you get a code in each book, with which you can sign in on their website (e-Sobotta) and gain access to e-version of your atlases. This came in very handy when I got a tablet so I didn’t have to carry the books around anymore. You can also download the images which comes in very useful when taking notes. I think Gilory’s atlas comes with this feature as well but I’m not sure for others.
Gray's Basic Anatomy
I own one atlas of Gray’s Basic Anatomy. It’s great for studying with text because in my opinion it describes the structures very well and somewhat detailed – enough for you to understand a positon of an organ and its relationship with surrounding structures. It also has some great simplified schemes that really helps you visualise everything and gives you a better understanding of and organ or structure as a whole.
The one that I have however, is not detailed enough to be the only atlas you study from. The images are simplified and not all parts of some bone/organ are named or even drawn. It is great for better understanding of what you already know, but not for being your main source.
It also has, as I’ve already said, only English nomenclature which again is okay if you already know the Latin expressions but still it’s not enough to be your main study source.
Netter and Gilroy Atlas of Anatomy
I don’t own either of the atlases, but I sometimes use them in the school library when I study. I think they both have some very good images. Netter has great nerve images and Gilroy portrays the muscles very well. I think Gilroy has overall very good images and portrays the structures well. I can’t say much about either of them because I don’t use them as often but I think they both are detailed enough for a med student.
If you are trying to decide which Atlas to choose, I recommend you go to the library and check out some of them, then you decide which one appeals to you most. If your college gives you some recommendations choose between them.
I still think I made the right choice choosing Sobotta, it has clinial remarks and a great feature at the end of each chapter as it gives you question for revision