Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice
Editors: Susan Standring and others. Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, 2005.
GRAY'S ANATOMY: THE ANATOMICAL BASIS OF CLINICAL PRACTICE - 39th
edition. Edited by Susan Standring and others. Elsevier Churchill
Livingstone, 2005. [$ 169, and an extra $30 for CD-ROM and online
Susan Standring, professor of experimental neurobiology at King's
College (London) and the first female editor in chief, presents the
latest edition of Gray's Anatomy.
This beautifully produced and medically invaluable book, continues
its tradition of excellence with this 39th edition which changes
the subtitle from "The Anatomical Basis of Medicine and Surgery"
to "The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice". It is a quite relevant
difference. In fact, since past editions added material covering
advances in such fields as molecular biology, immunohistology,
basic embryology, the book had mainly become a source for basic
scientists and anatomists. But with the present volume the authors
added "anatomy in clinical situations" such as microsurgery, endoscopy,
arthroscopy, minimally invasive surgery, reflecting the way in which
clinicians need to see anatomy.
Being aware that no single reviewer is competent to judge such an
encyclopaedic work we consulted a number of experts in the field
and read reviews written by anatomists, physicians and surgeons.
Among them, Sherwin Nuland, clinical professor of surgery at Yale
University, provides an effective synthesis of relevant
considerations in "An Institution between Covers", just published in
the March issue of Scientific American.
As Nuland notes, Henry Gray's original offering of 1858 has taken on
the task of providing an overview of the science on which comprehensive
understanding of gross anatomy is based in today's biomedical and
Over the time a significant change came about with the 35th edition
in 1973, when the visual character of the book began a veritable
transformation. Since that time, each edition has incrementally added
topics from modern imaging such as computer assisted and electron
microscopy, CT, MRI, fMRI, PET and so on.
With the 37th edition, a formal editorial board was created to
provide a supervisory framework for the additions being made by
the specialist authors whose contributions were increasing the value
of Gray's Anatomy as a source for basic science and clinical
applications. When the next edition appeared in 1995 the main changes
to be found in it -Nuland observes- were organizational, consisting
primarily of rearranging the material to make it more accessible and
But with the present edition, Susan Standring and her authoritative
team have operated the major change in presenting their material
by regions rather than the old method of systems.
As every human enterprise Gray's Anatomy has its imperfections, but we have been able to find only one mistake: "Surface Anatomy of the Lower Limb" on page 1339 according the table of contents, is wrongly located on page 1999.
BM&L- staff reviewers 2005