Wolf-Heidegger's atlas of human anatomy

Download Wolf-Heidegger's atlas of human anatomy

Post on 06-Jun-2016




5 download



    Wolf-Heideggers Atlas of Human Anatomy, 5thEdition, Vol. III Edited by Petra Kopf-Maier. 768pp., Switzerland: Karger, 2001. $130.50.

    The rst edition of Gerhard Wolf-Heideggers atlaswas published in 1954 as the Atlas of Systematic Anat-omy. It was a 3-volume set that was reprinted in 1960and again in 1972. As new medical imaging techniqueswere developed, Frick, Kummer, and Putz revised theatlas yet again and added samples of some of theseimages in a single-volume 4th edition released in 1990under the title Wolf-Heideggers Atlas of Human Anat-omy. Petra Kopf-Maier has now taken the work to anew level as she has directed the incorporation of 230new illustrations and nearly 200 medical images. Thenumber of these radiographs, CT, MRI, and ultra-sound images (as well as numerous angiograms,venograms, and bone scans) is nearly double that ofother traditional atlases. Additionally, Dr. Kopf-Maierhas added photographs of approximately 90 anatomi-cal sections and corrosion casts. Most of the additionsfrom the 1990 version and the original drawings byWolf-Heidegger and his illustrators (many from theBasle Anatomical Institute, where muscle plates weredrawn from fresh dissections) were retained. Severalwere colored or re-colored for enhanced clarity. Theresult is an excellent 2-volume edition of pure anat-omy. The rst volume (319 pages with 586 gures,452 in color) deals with systems, body wall, and limbs.The second (448 pages with 866 gures, 677 in color)details the head, neck, thorax, abdomen, pelvis, CNS,eye, and ear. This arrangement, as stated on page XI,is based on the organization of dissection courses intotwo main parts in many institutes of anatomy.

    After the editors dedication, and before the Tableof Contents, the editor pays homage to those who sogenerously bequeathed their bodies to science by in-voking the phrase inscribed above the AnatomicalTheatre in Bologna: Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet suc-currere vitae (This is the place where death delights inhelping life). This emphasis on teaching mirrors thewords reprinted from the preface of the 1st edition(page IX) we are of the opinion that the Atlas is theprimary aid in anatomical instruction, but it neithercan nor should be a substitute for the detailed text-book and the spoken word; these are indispensable inpreparing the student for what he is to see and inxing what he has seen rmly in his mind.

    The new edition is completely revised and sup-plemented, and has many outstanding attributes.The editor utilized Terminologia Anatomica (1998) forthe legends and labels. This is desirable for consis-tency and is preferable to the use of number or letterpointers that require a two-step process to identify astructure, follow leader line to number, and then ndthe number on a table or list in order to identify astructure. Aside from this, there is virtually no text inthe atlas. The idea was to enable the atlas to becoupled with any text. Although the diagrams andimages are large, there is still abundant white space onmost pages to allow room for notes to be written.

    Having two volumes might make it easier to carry,as the editor states, but it seems that the adverseaffects outweigh (pardon the pun) the benets. Pub-lishing two volumes gives rise to environmentally un-friendly duplication of the binding, introduction, con-tents, and index, as well as increased cost. Given thatthere are several other atlases with around 800 pagespublished in one volume (soft and hard back), andthere have been no major studies of injuries resultingfrom the carrying of such atlases, it would be prefer-able for future editions to return to the single-volumeformat of the 4th edition. The only instructors whomight see an advantage to having two small volumesare those teaching Physical Therapy students becausethe rst volume alone may cover most of their needs.

    The diagrams and images exhibit mostly adultspecimens and there is an appreciated consistent ren-dering of the right side of bilaterally symmetricalstructures. The drawings are clear and artistic and thedashed label lines are fairly easy to follow. Some of thediagrams could benet from the use of bolder color-ing, but all are acceptable. All regions are coveredwell, but the cardiac anatomy in Volume 2 is particu-larly thorough. In addition to a wide array of diagrams,the editor included echocardiograms (pp. 136137)and angiograms (pp. 146147), both matched to dia-grams. It was also helpful to have a diagram thatrelatively isolates the autonomics to the heart (p. 166).The CNS chapter was also well done and perhaps

    *Correspondence to: Dr. David Porta, Dept. of Biology, 111 Pas-teur Hall, Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY 40205.E-mail: dporta@bellarmine.edu

    Received 11 December 2001; Accepted 21 February 2002

    Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI 10.1002/ca.10052

    Clinical Anatomy 15:372374 (2002)

    2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  • suitable for a neuroanatomy course. The only com-plaint would be the lack of dedicated drawings forindividual cranial nerves, a handy feature for students.

    The characteristic that most clearly distinguishesthis atlas from the competition, however, is the vastincorporation of clinical images (e.g., p. 69, there arelaryngoscopic images of an adult during various stagesof phonation and respiration). and medical imagingtechniques. In almost all cases, the frontal, median,and transverse MRI and CT images are closelymatched with photos of anatomical sections, andsometimes with drawings or corrosion casts. The re-sults are stunning. Furthermore, it appears that mostof the transverse tomograms are viewed from the in-ferior (caudal) as is common in the clinical setting. Forexample, on page 213 of the second volume, there isa beautiful set of images: a CT, transverse anatomicalsection, and a corrosion cast of the renal system alltaken from the second lumbar level and perfectlyoriented. In all cases, the scans and the sections matchand although some of the cadaver sections are dark,most of the photos and medical imaging are excellent.There are only a few occasions when the images anddiagrams do not reinforce each other. For instance, onpage 103 of the rst volume, an MRI of the rightcarpal tunnel is properly positioned with a photo of ananatomical section. The drawing above it, however,will no doubt confuse the beginning student since theanterior view of the right hand is shown with thengers at the top of the page and thus the thumb onthe right side of the page. The specimen and MRIimmediately below it show the tunnel from the infe-rior view that places the thumb on the left side of thepage. Simply turning the drawing 180 degrees, andindicating the plane of section with a line, would haveavoided a great deal of potential confusion.

    Given that most bequeathals are geriatric, the pres-ence of juvenile anatomy in an atlas provides a rareeducational opportunity. This atlas demonstrates suchareas that are common to most atlases: skeletal devel-opment (v1, pp. 89), fetal circulation (v1, p.13), new-born skull (v2, p.17), and descent of testes (v2, p. 272,unfortunately this gure lacks notes indicating thegestational age). But there are also images of: thesection of a breast from a 16- and a 28-year-old female(v1, p.70), a diagram and radiograph of the pelvis of a3-month-old child (v1, p. 177), dentition of 1- and5-year-olds (v2, pp. 4243), a drawing of the thymus ofa newborn and 3-year-old child (v2, p. 104), a diagramof the liver of a newborn child (v2, p. 181), drawings offetal kidneys (v2, p. 210), and photos of a corrosioncast of a 15-year-olds kidneys (v2, pp. 213214). Alsorelated, there are endoscopic views of the uterine os

    from both nulliparous and multiparous women (v2,pp. 268269).

    This atlas has two unusual features. In the legends,a parenthetical percentage indicates the relative sizeof the image referred to the original. I am not quitesure this is necessary for one who is performing acadaver dissection, but perhaps it becomes more valu-able to those who are reviewing after a long period oftime away from the dissection or surgical suite. Per-sonally, I would prefer to see a notation of specimenage instead of a size scale. Secondly, this atlas containsuncommon data on the classic muscle attachmentdrawings. They have utilized color coding of the at-tachment points to indicate innervation (e.g., v1, pp.112113, 117, and 128 for upper limb musculature).This strikes me as such an unusual marriage of infor-mation. After a month of pondering, I still cannotdetermine if this is more of a benet or distraction,and must admit that I have simply ignored the coding.

    In terms of formatting, there is one peculiarityrelating to pagination. When more than one gureappears on a page, the gure is referred to by the pagenumber combined with a letter designation. The pe-culiarity relates to the position of the numbering. Allpage numbers are placed on the top left corner of eachpage, even the right facing page. Thus one must lookat the left page or entirely open the text in order tond a particular page number.

    Although I greatly enjoyed reviewing this atlas,there are a number of less-than-positive features. Thecover is the thinnest of any hardback text in mylibrary. Although this would lead to less weight tocarry, one cant help but wonder about the durability.The cover is in between that of a soft and hardcover.

    Regardless of the number of revisions, minor dif-ferences of opinion regarding placement of diagrams(e.g., in vol. 1, dermatome diagrams on pages 134a and244a might be better placed in the systems chapteraround page 22 or in the body wall chapter aroundpage 78) are inevitable, as are differences related towhat minor structures are included vs. excluded (e.g.,Waldeyers ring and Wards triangle are included, butthe Ligament of Treitz and Meckels Diverticulumare not). It is safe to assume, however, that the over-whelming majority of atlases are sold to students pre-paring to dissect a cadaver for the rst timenotseasoned anatomists. With this in mind, one mustconsider the needs of the amateur rst and foremost.Ease of use and organization should be paramount ifone desires continued publishing success.

    Color-coding of pages into sections or chapterswould greatly increase the ease of use when one isquickly trying to nd a structure during lecture, lab, orreview. Likewise, an expanded subject index would

    Book Review 373

  • be desirable. Currently, the medial arcuate ligament isfound in the M section of the index, whereas theligamentum avum is found in the L section. Underligament there are only seven entries. For the studentdesiring to look up a particular ligament but oftenmistaken about the precise name, conventional listingof all ligaments together would provide greater oppor-tunity for success. Another ease-of-use issue relatesto the antebrachium and the practice (by no meanslimited to only this atlas) of not providing a hand orclear reference to the thumb in the diagrams. Inclu-sion of such would make orientation easy for thebeginning student (v1, pp. 114119 and 150155).

    Lastly, the organization of the atlas is far from idealfor the beginning dissector. For example, the Headand Neck chapter of Volume 2 begins (p. 1) with avery detailed section on skeletal anatomy. This iscommon and given that the skeleton provides somuch of the surface morphology, it is appropriate tounderstand it prior to dissection. Musculature, how-ever, is not covered until page 28. Then the atlasreturns to the mandible and teeth, followed by oral

    cavity, pharynx, nasal cavity, and then larynx. An over-view of the vasculature is not seen until 74 pages intothe work! The supercial veins, lymphatics, andnerves (the rst structures to be dissected) are notshown until pages 8085. This type of organizationwill quickly frustrate students and is precisely why theatlases by Netter and Grant will remain the mostpopular with rst year students; although, this atlasprobably provides much more anatomical information.

    In closing, I was honored to be asked to review thisatlas. It is an excellent resource that I am proud to nowhave in my library. It would no doubt be useful tostudents especially with its vast array of clinical im-ages, but it needs to be made more user-friendly if thepublisher expects to compete with the likes of otherpopular atlases.

    David J. Porta*Department of BiologyBellarmine UniversityLouisville, Kentucky

    374 Book Review