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Review of Netter's Anatomy Atlas

A celebrated surgeon and medical illustrator, born in 1906 in Manhattan, NY. He dreamed of becoming an artist, until he found his talent; medicine. By utilizing his unusual skill set, this extraordinary man found a way to encompass both his passion and his life’s work into a legacy that to this day, inspires artists and aids students and medical professionals alike.

The painted plates make up a personal portfolio, that is worthy of a place in any famous art gallery. Thankfully the atlas was completed, for it was worked on up until his death in 1991.

The 5th edition of the atlas, published in 2010 by Saunders, provides the anatomy enthusiast with a beautiful array of 624 highly detailed and clearly labeled anatomy plates.


The aim of this image collection is to enable the reader to engage themselves in learning the parts of the human body and to build a solid understanding of how each structure crosses, intersects and anastomoses with one another. In one book, the author has managed to include all the plates needed to thoroughly understand locomotor, organ and neuroanatomy, without compromising quality or detail.

Thoracic cavity - ventral view

Thoracic cavity - ventral view

The chapters listed in the current edition include:

  • Head and neck
  • Back and spinal cord
  • Thorax
  • Abdomen
  • Pelvis and perineum
  • Upper limb
  • Lower limb
  • Cross sectional anatomy

By peeling away the human body layer by layer, Netter reveals the superficial and deep anatomical structures which are vibrantly coloured for effortless differentiation.


Netters Anatomy AtlasThe downside to this investment is that it lacks any kind of theory or explanations. There is no text, apart from the labels on the structures and therefore this book alone is only helpful for orientation. Also, the online plates can only be accessed once the book has been purchased, so even in the case of exclusive electronic learning, paper cannot be spared.


When used in combination with anatomy textbooks, theory and topographic familiarity start to develop. Comparing Netter’s images with Kenhub's anatomy atlas, the latter encourages structure recognition and prevents the student from being too familiar with one type of illustration.

This method then allows the student to quiz his or herself using the anatomy training and further explore this fascinating subject using articles found in the library.

Combine the literature. Extract the knowledge. Change the world.


Advantages of Netter's anatomy atlas:

  • High quality and detailed illustrations
  • Completeness
  • Information is presented layer-by-layer

Weaknesses of Netter's anatomy atlas:

  • No theory or explanations, hence the book is limited to orientation purposes
  • You need to purchase the book to access the additional online plates
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Show references


  • Frank H. Netter MD, Atlas of Human Anatomy, 5th Edition, Saunders, 2010


  • Alexandra Sieroslawska


  • Thoracic cavity - ventral view - Paul Kim
© Unless stated otherwise, all content, including illustrations are exclusive property of Kenhub GmbH, and are protected by German and international copyright laws. All rights reserved.

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