on March 19, 2009
This book is great for going over the subject a first time through. The main text sections aren't so long and thick that you can't read them (a usual problem), but are interspersed with lots of further detail which you can take or leave. Some of the molecular detail is a bit much if you're not an embryology researcher, but is good as a reference. My main qualm with this version compared with past ones is that the chapters are oddly organized. It takes apart elements that should be in the same chapter together (and their all-pertinent drawings!) and splices them around the book. The "Fetus as a Patient" chapter should be at the end, after the development is completely elucidated, and not shoved somewhere towards the beginning. Why did they take out the old glossary that used to be at the end of the book?
Otherwise, great book!
on June 25, 2011
This book is a vast improvement over the 3rd edition written mostly by Larsen and completed by others. It makes the study of embryology, well, not enjoyable, but at least painless. The authors have corrected previous editorial blunders like missing colors, but they didn't catch them all, like the missing heart outline in the last image of the systemic venous system. Other image improvements are the addition of more labeled components of images carried over from the 3rd edition; still not enough in some cases, though. Pointless images have been removed, mostly SEMs. The heart chapter has been completely rewritten, with diagrams that make a previously obscure exposition readable. Embryonic folding, always a tough read, has been split to the gastrointestinal, body cavity, and week 4 chapters, which makes more sense. Molecular and clinical information is spread throughout each chapter at appropriate places, instead of being lumped together at the end, and of course, it's all up to date (well, for 2008). There are several new well-written and illustrated chapters.
The book retains the reversed definitions of the aorticorenal and superior mesenteric ganglia, despite the fact that both are correctly labeled in the (identical) diagrams of the two editions. Supporting evidence that no one actually proofread this section is that, like the previous edition, "superior mesenteric ganglia" is not in bold font, as are the other two ganglia. This error would have been corrected were it not for the second most annoying practice of this publisher, which is their refusal to post errata for any textbook or to give readers a way to report errors to them. The preface to this edition has an email address for one of the authors whom I have advised of the ganglia error. (The most annoying practice is their gobbling up of a large fraction of screen real estate with their pretentious logo, titling, menus, buttons, and other nonsense, in the studentconsult online version of the book. And they are not interested in hearing from you about it. But all that is moot, because studentconsult is a complete farce, including animations which confuse more than elucidate.)
One may also wonder why, when editorial practice in recent years has been to replace eponymous nomenclature with functional terms, the authors chose to replace "paramesonephric duct" with "Müllerian duct". And they kept the word "anlage", which hasn't been spoken by man or beast in decades. In a short section of the Introduction entitled "Phases of Human Embryology", the word 'purpose' is used seven times. This is an affront to the scientifically enlightened (does not include most med students), because it promotes the notion of teleology, which, unless you're a member of the Flat Earth Society, is bullbleep. Subliminal messages, possibly unintended, inculcate incorrect notions in the naive reader, and can adversely affect clinical practice. I recommend that all words suggestive of teleology be excised for the next edition. For starters, replace 'purpose' with 'effect'.
All that aside, this is probably the best embryo book on the market for the serious medical student or resident. Those who only want to memorize answers for Step 1 should find something simpler, like a dime-thin USMLE review book that drills on answers with no pretense of teaching anything. Such comic book level reviews, however, will not even approximate in number the cornucopia of pathologies in Larsen's.
on September 13, 2013
Had this book for my Embryology course and it is amazing. It's really easy to follow, the online supplemental materials are fantastic. I recommend getting it new.
That said, you don't even have to be a student to appreciate how awesome this book is. I find myself constantly looking at it even after my course finished just looking up interesting factoids with my wife. Great buy, great read.