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W Thiel. (£191.50.) Springer-Verlag, 1999. ISBN 3 540 62239 X.
The Photographic Atlas of Practical Anatomy by Thiel is a very accomplished and comprehensive work. A series of expertly prepared specimens that systematically explore the various regions of the body provides the reader with an excellent insight into the anatomy and, to some extent, also the physiology/function of the human body.
The most striking feature of the photographic plates is how exquisitely prepared the specimens are. The fixation and preparation techniques chosen guarantee a very superior degree of faithfulness in the reproductions. The expert reader will be particularly fascinated by how well even extremely small vascular structures have been reproduced by means of injection technique and how detailed the smallest ramifications of nerves have been prepared. The legends that complement each plate are easy to understand and clearly structured. They also stay within the limits of what is shown in the figure. It is a pity, however, that the anatomical structures shown are not identified in detail in the same volume, but in a separate one. The fact that the printing quality of the black and white reproductions is inferior to that of the colour plates does not help to orientate the reader. Moreover, the frame-like arrangement of the numbers and symbols is in some places confusing. As a result, both volumes have to be referred to simultaneously, which requires a lot of space and may therefore be very troublesome, especially for learners of anatomy.
All in all, this photographic atlas is a remarkable achievement capable of serving as a book of reference both for students and doctors of nearly all specialities who dedicate themselves to surgery. In view of this, it is certainly worth the price.
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