20 best anatomy and physiology books for medical students
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20 Best Anatomy And Physiology Books For Medical Students

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Since Anatomy and Physiology serve as foundations in medical school, you should acquire knowledge only from the best anatomy and physiology books for medical students. The two are not mutually exclusive as by knowing the body structure and their respective locations, determining the physiological relevance is equally important.

By mastering these two and knowing what is anatomically and physiologically normal, analyzing pathologic conditions and applying clinical approaches will surely be easier.

Choose the best anatomy and physiology books for medical students below.

10 Best Anatomy Books For Medical Students

Atlas of Human Anatomy by Frank H. Netter

Atlas of Human Anatomy (Netter Basic Science)

This is a personal recommendation and the one that’s frequently used in most universities. Anatomy is learned through visualization of body structures. Thus, being an atlas, Netter’s book is the best for learning anatomy in medical school.

Best-selling and most popular, it contains hundreds of illustrations of the human anatomy—from the smallest blood vessel and nerve to the largest organ. Almost all illustrations were painted by the great late American surgeon—Frank H. Netter. Though hand-painted, it is pretty incredible that these drawings are accurate and actual representations of the real-life appearance of human anatomy.

All were painted in great detail and his work has been compiled since 1989. Currently, it’s printed on its 8th edition and has been teaching anatomy to millions of medical students around the globe.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

Thieme Atlas of Anatomy by Gilroy

Atlas of Anatomy

Another student’s favorite, Thieme Atlas of Anatomy is also one of the best atlases for medical students. Like Netter’s, it has hundreds of detailed illustrations but what makes it different is they are supplemented with tables and boxes rich with various clinically relevant information.

If you have been struggling with memorizing the muscle’s origin, insertion, nerve innervation, and action or the so-called OINA while familiarizing the structures, the Thieme Atlas of Anatomy is your game. It also provides bonus techniques on how to easily remember some sections.

It comes on its 4th edition with 3 volume series which you may buy separately or in 1 single bind:

  • General & musculoskeletal
  • Head-neck and neuroanatomy
  • Internal organs

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas by Rohen

Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas (Color Atlas of Anatomy a Photographic Study of the Human Body)

While the first two books were made out of artistic well-detailed illustrations, Rohen’s Anatomy Atlas is created with a compilation of actual photos of dissected cadavers. Some students find it easier to study actual photos rather than hand-written illustrations. What you see in real life is what you get on paper as images are printed on high resolution.

However, since it’s a cadaver image, what you struggle about in real life may also be a struggle on paper. It might be pretty difficult to differentiate fine and subtle structures. Still, the structures were properly and colorfully labeled to help you identify them easily.

The book is already on its 8th edition. Though quite more expensive than the other atlases, this is definitely worth your money if you are looking for high-resolution photos of structures from actual cadavers.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

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Clinical Anatomy: Applied Anatomy For Students and Junior Doctors

Clinical Anatomy: Applied Anatomy for Students and Junior Doctors

The organization of this book is different from the regular anatomical atlases. It is grouped into regions for easier referencing: head and neck, thorax, abdomen, pelvis, and upper and lower limbs. It’s on its 14th edition with a special concentration on the nervous system. Suitable for both surgical and non-surgical medical students, this book is usually recommended to those who already have basic knowledge of anatomy and physiology. They could use this as a supplement for clinical works and examinations as the book also contains clinical case scenarios.

Aside from the atlas of body structures, the book also provides radiological images such as x-ray and CT scan for a better grasp of how they look like for diagnostic purposes. It also provides an access code to a website where learning is extended through flashcards and more images. If you intend to take the Royal College of Surgeons examinations, this book is a recommendation since it is patterned according to it.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

The Anatomy Coloring Book

The Anatomy Coloring Book

Didn’t think that studying anatomy could also be artsy and fun? For visual and kinesthetic learners, perhaps you may add this to the list of the best anatomy and physiology books for medical students. Through the use of art, The Anatomy Coloring Book is a supplementary tool to help you in learning anatomical structures. It contains 162 black-and-white detailed images of the muscles, bones, nerves, and vasculature that are organized per organ system. In the beginning, there is an instruction to guide the users on how to color the images and labels properly to come out with the best results. Aside from the images, there is supplementary information besides the images for additional understanding of the structures being colored. This coloring book is great for exam preparations. It helps visual and kinesthetic familiarizing human anatomy.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

Moore’s Clinically Oriented Anatomy

Clinically Oriented Anatomy

Getting a break from atlases, a clinical anatomy textbook will give you comprehensive information about human anatomy. In short, this is your handy book of theoretical foundation. Even if you reach more advanced medical specialization areas, you will find yourself going back to this book to refresh your mind with anatomic principles.

Clinical anatomy is a higher level medical course in which the knowledge in anatomy is applied in the clinical setting. Here, you’ll be relating anatomy with diagnosis differentials, imaging, emergency medicine, and general surgery. The book may be lengthy and provide a lot of must-know and nice-to-know information, but it has blue boxes at each end summarizing the learnings and highlights of a particular chapter.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

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Thieme Anatomy: An Essential Textbook

Anatomy - An Essential Textbook (Thieme Illustrated Reviews)

Aside from an atlas, Thieme also provides a textbook for more in-depth learning of anatomy. It provides extensive, comprehensive, and high-yield information about anatomic structures from head to toe. This 500-page book will give you knowledge more than the average medical school course. It contains diagrams, informative tables, and blue clinical boxes providing clinical significance.

The price is affordable, hence why it is also one of the students’ choices. If you are preparing for USMLE, this is a great choice as each chapter contains practice questions patterned according to USMLE.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

Color Atlas of Anatomy: A Photographic Study of the Human Body

Color Atlas of Anatomy: A Photographic Study of the Human Body

If you need a guide during your dissection activities in medical school, this is what you need. It includes colored photographs of surface views and actual dissections, diagrams for additional information, and CT/MRT images. Images are organized by region. This is already its 7th edition. Black-and-white images were replaced with colored ones and old images had improved resolution.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews On Amazon

Grays Anatomy for Students

Gray's Anatomy for Students: With Student Consult Online Access

If you fancied Moore’s Clinically Oriented Anatomy, Grays Anatomy for Students will also be a useful tool for your early medical school training. The book is comprehensively supplemented with their corresponding clinical significance that are highlighted in “in the clinic” boxes throughout the book. It has sample case reports for a higher yield of learning which could benefit you all through your years in medical school and beyond.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

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Sobotta Atlas of Human Anatomy

Sobotta Atlas of Anatomy, Package, 16th ed., English/Latin: Musculoskeletal System; Internal Organs; Head, Neck and Neuroanatomy; Muscles Tables

This atlas comes in 3 volumes that cover general anatomy, musculoskeletal system, internal organs, and neuroanatomy. It includes a booklet of tables about muscles, nerves, and vasculature. You could also have an access card to its online version and exam coaching application. The images included in the electronic versions are printable and contain information guides for dissections. The book also features the Latin nomenclature of the body structures together with their descriptions in English.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

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10 Best Physiology Books For Medical Students

Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology

Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology (Guyton Physiology)

There’s no other reason why this is the number 1 medical physiology book but the fact that this is gold-standard since its first release in 1956. It’s almost 1200 pages is jam-packed with in-depth and well-detailed discussions of different cellular and even biomolecular processes involved in human physiology.

There are 15 sections subdivided into 8 chapters. Though the book is massively textual, it also contains colored images, figures, and tables with high resolution. Buying the book will also give access to its electronic version, other additional resources of free video animations, and an online resource named Student Consult containing multiple-choice questions from each section of the book.

This is the medical physiology book I used in my first year. Though it’s lengthy, it has a comprehensive and timeless discussion of medical physiology, especially on Cardio. This is definitely a personal recommendation and one of the best anatomy and physiology books for medical students.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

Boron & Boulpaep Medical Physiology

Medical Physiology, 2e Updated Edition: with STUDENT CONSULT Online Access (MEDICAL PHYSIOLOGY (BORON))

Another bible in medical physiology, Boron & Boulpaep provides an in-depth and well-detailed discussion like Guyton. Aside from texts, it supplements them with several graphs and figures. It tackles physiology from the cellular level up to how all processes could be juxtaposed to be applied in clinical practice.

It contains 10 sections covering an organ system. Each section is subdivided into several chapters. It has a total of 62 chapters with more than 1300 pages.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

Costanzo’s Physiology

Physiology

If you are looking for an extensive review book for medical physiology, Costanzo’s is the thing. It is one of the most detailed review books that you could use for examinations. Comprehensive yet concise, Linda Costanzo’s masterpiece has 10 chapters subdivided into subtopics. Each chapter tackles a specific organ system. It also includes helpful diagrams and tables, clinical laboratory cases, and sample questions at the end of each chapter to test your knowledge. 

Since this is only a review book, all of these are squeezed into 500 pages so it won’t be overwhelming for the students. This is an ideal choice for those who are looking for a comprehensive review book yet makes every concept simpler and easier to understand.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

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Ganong’s Review of Medical Physiology

Ganong's Review of Medical Physiology, Twenty-Fifth Edition (Lange Medical Book)

Another medical physiology review, Ganong’s review of medical physiology has 8 sections each discussing a body system. Each chapter is further subdivided into multiple subchapters comprising a total of almost 800 pages. It’s quite lengthy than your other average pocket review books but it also contains helpful diagrams, tables, and figures for supplementary learning. It also includes clinical boxes highlighting clinical significance, a summary at the end of each chapter, and multiple-choice questions.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

Berne & Levy Physiology

Berne & Levy Physiology, 6th Updated Edition, with Student Consult Online Access

This book has 8 sections with 44 chapters with a total of 867 pages. Each chapter discusses deeply one organ system. The text is supplemented with numerous graphs, tables, and diagrams. The book features “in the clinical” and “at the cellular level” text boxes highlighting the clinical relevance and the actual cellular process involved, respectively.

At the end of each chapter, there’s a summary of key concepts to ease memorization. Like Guyton, it comes with a Student Consult giving you full access to the book online and a compilation of USMLE-style review questions.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

BRS Physiology

BRS Physiology (Board Review Series)

Another Linda Costanzo masterpiece, the BRS physiology is also an extensive review book in preparation for your examinations. If you are looking for the most concise review resource, this is the one for you. It is only made of more than 300 pages. It may be shorter than any review books listed here, but mind you that it is enriched with straightforward and must-know information on medical physiology. This is your handy yet high-yield physiology review.

The structure is neat with clear headings and subheadings. Studying will be much easier as the key concepts in the text are already highlighted. There are also diagrams and tables for better comprehension. It’s on its 7th edition and I could say that this is also one of my personal recommendations.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

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LL Human Physiology

LL Human Physiology

This is the physiology book for beginners. If you are a medical student whose pre-med major is quite far from the sciences, you may try this entry-level medical physiology book. The concepts are explained well yet simply and concisely. The book contains high-quality illustrations. It also contains a clinical application of various physiologic concepts. Buying the hardbound book provides you access to the Connect A&P website which offers visual demonstrations of anatomy and physiology using real cadavers.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

Human Physiology: An Integrated Approach

Human Physiology: An Integrated Approach (7th Edition)

This human physiology book features homeostasis and a biomolecular-based approach in explaining physiology. It starts with the basic cellular processes and advances to the more complex organ systems. You may also purchase an access card to the Mastering A&P website to serve as a supplementary learning tool containing video tutorials and coaching activities.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

Ross&Wilson Anatomy and Physiology in Health Illness

Ross & Wilson Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Illness

Aside from books that offer anatomy and physiology separately, some books already offer both. All beginners and junior doctors could gain extensive clinical anatomy and medical physiology knowledge from this book. This could be one of the best anatomy and physiology books for medical students as it offers the following features: it covers a broad coverage from cellular processes to the most complex organ systems, each end of the sections provide self-check questions for knowledge evaluation, it provides you access to online tools and activities, and the book is concise and straightforward making it also a recommended reference for non-medical students.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

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Marieb Human Anatomy & Physiology Standalone Book

Human Anatomy & Physiology (Marieb, Human Anatomy & Physiology) Standalone Book

This book covers cell and tissue structures, human anatomy, physiological functions, and clinical case descriptions. The book is well-organized in a way that each introduction per chapter provides a blueprint of the main concepts. Each chapter includes “Focus” boxes and revision questions. You can also visit an online website that contains supplementary learning videos as you go along with the book. You may wish also to purchase access to the Mastering A&P Website.

The book comes in several versions: Kindle version, hardcover version, and Leaf version that comes with CD-ROMs and an anatomy atlas.

For more information, check it out on Amazon here.

See Reviews on Amazon

How To Choose The Good Anatomy And Physiology Book For Medical Students?

Choosing the best anatomy and physiology books for medical students is not that difficult provided that you know what type of learner you are.

Do you learn easily through visual illustrations? Would it be easier to comprehend by reading the bulk of texts? Do you prefer working on things with your hands?

When you know what type of learner you are, it would then be easier to look for the right anatomy and physiology book.

If you are a visual learner, then choose an atlas. However, atlases should also be supplemented with a textbook to gain theoretical knowledge and know more about how to apply these concepts clinically. Mind you, you will be using the atlas and textbook for the rest of your medical career. If you’re some kind of reader, then long texts might not intimidate you. After all, textbooks already include high-quality illustrations as a supplement. On the other hand, kinesthetic learners could make use of the coloring book or those books with guides during dissection.

Knowing what’s your learning style will make studying anatomy and physiology easier for you.

You can also check out my video on the top books for premeds and medical students if you want to supplement your anatomy and physiology readings! If you have liked this video, make sure to subscribe to our main channel as well!

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Finally, here are the best anatomy and physiology books for medical students. Anatomy and Physiology are one of the main foundations of your medical knowledge. They are not mutually exclusive as you cannot study anatomy without physiology and vice versa.

If you want to learn an effective way to study anatomy, check out my step-by-step guide here.

And if online resources are your thing, you can read about my review on the best resource for studying anatomy.

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