7 Best Atlases of Human Anatomy for Medical Students (2023)

An atlas of human anatomy shows detailed pictures of the various parts of the human body — usually vivid drawings or real-life cadaver dissections. In addition, some atlases show the microscopic details of body organs.

Human anatomy atlases help medical students to better understand human anatomy and physiology. It also helps them to better understand the correlations between the normal and abnormal forms of human body parts and organs. Even residents still find atlases useful at some point during their training.

best atlas of human anatomy

Best Atlases of Human Anatomy: Our Top Recommendations

The market abounds with human anatomy atlases by different authors, and making the right choice from the pack can be quite challenging for the novice medical student. Thankfully, our team of medical text review experts has compared the popular human anatomy atlases on the market with the aim of carefully handpicking the best options.

And here are our top recommendations that you won’t go wrong with.

1. Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas Eighth


If you are preparing for the operating room or dissection lab, one human anatomy atlas you should consider is, “Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas.” This atlas features outstanding photographs of cadaver dissections in full color. It accompanies these photographs with diagnostic images and schematic drawings.

The book is a proven text that depicts anatomic structures in a more realistic fashion than you have in traditional atlases. Its chapters are organized into regions based on typical dissections. Each chapter presents different topographical structures systemically. 

Some of the things you should expect from this atlas of human anatomy include:

  • Clear functional connections between specific organs, surrounding tissue, and organ systems. These are provided in the clearest possible manner to prepare you for practical exams and the dissection lab.
  • Genuine photographic reproduction of different colors, spatial dimensions, and structures similar to what you will see in the dissection lab or operating table. This is necessary to help you fully understand the anatomy of the human body.
  • Distinct clinical cases along with more than 1,200 images will help you understand the human anatomy better.

Author (s): Johannes W. Rohen MD, Chihiro Yokochi MD, Elke Lütjen-Drecoll MD

Publisher: LWW

Current Edition: Eighth, North American edition, Paperback and Kindle (February 12, 2015)

Pages: 560 pages

2. Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy


Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy presents the user with illustrations drawn from actual specimens. These illustrations are presented in a dissection sequence that flows from surface to deep. Because of this, most anatomical experts consider this atlas to be one of the most accurate references to help medical students learn and understand human anatomy. 

This atlas for human anatomy has been around for over seventy years and presents the most realistic representations to make it the ultimate lab resource. Over the years, it has evolved to meet the needs of different generations of students while maintaining the excellence associated with Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy. This fourteenth edition is meticulously updated so that it presents stunning visuals that deliver pedagogy, clinical relevance, and accuracy.

It comes with several new features to make it more user-friendly and practical. Here are a few things you will get from using this atlas of human anatomy:

  • Schematic illustrations that feature consistent coloring and a uniform style. These illustrations clarify different anatomical concepts while showing the necessary structural relationships.
  • Re-colorization of the images as well as the addition of a new level of tissue transparency and organ luminosity. The lavish visual enhancement helps allows the user to have a vastly improved experience while learning the human body structure and functions of different parts.
  • Enhanced medical imaging that covers over one hundred significant CT images, MRIs, and ultrasound scans along with their corresponding orientation drawings.
  • Newly-revised legends accompanied by highlighted clinical applications to describe different anatomic features while providing context for practice.
  • Improved and updated tables that organize vessels, muscles, and other essential anatomic information in a format that is easy to study and review.

Author (s): Anne M. R. Agur BSc (OT) MSc Ph.D., Arthur F. Dalley II Ph.D. FAAA

Publisher: LWW

Current Edition: 14th edition, Paperback and Kindle (February 24, 2016)

Pages: 896 pages

3. Netter Atlas of Human Anatomy: Classic Regional Approach: paperback + eBook (Netter Basic Science)


The Netter Atlas of Human Anatomy was put together for clinical professionals and medical students learning anatomy. It is also perfect for professionals and students who seek to share anatomical knowledge with patients, participate in a dissection lab, or refresh their knowledge of anatomy.

This atlas of human anatomy gives a clear illustration of different regions of the body through the eye of a brilliant clinician. Experts consider this atlas to be unique because of the different illustrations that are used to emphasize anatomic relationships. It comes with over 550 exquisite plates along with dozens of meticulously selected radiologic images. Here are a few things this text presents:

  • New illustrations showing clinically important areas including the infratemporal and temporal fossae, pelvic cavity, and nasal turbinates.
  • Comes with new nerve tables that are devoted to the cervical, lumbosacral, and brachial plexuses as well as the cranial nerves.
  • Makes use of updated terminology and includes some commonly used clinical eponyms.
  • Offers coverage of different body regions and shows muscle table appendices and quick reference notes after each section.

Author (s): Frank H. Netter MD

Publisher: Elsevier

Current Edition: 8th edition, Paperback and Kindle (May 3, 2022)

Pages: 712 pages

4. Gray’s Atlas of Anatomy (Gray’s Anatomy)


Gray’s Atlas of Anatomy is clinically focused, logically organized, and clearly and consistently illustrated. This atlas of anatomy is the companion to another text, Gray’s Anatomy for Students. It presents the user with a clear visual depiction of different anatomical structures. 

This text comes with stunning illustrations that demonstrate the correlation of different structures with surface anatomy and clinical images. All of these are essential for the proper identification of different organs in the preparation for exams as well as procedures in the dissection lab. Here are a few things you should expect from this atlas for human anatomy:

  • Provides a complete understanding of a woman’s inguinal region with the help of large-format illustrations and new imaging figures. 
  • Recognition of different anatomical structures with access to over 270 clinical images that include radiologic, otoscopic, surgical, laparoscopic, and several other clinical views.
  • Visualization of the clinical correlation between surface landmarks and anatomical structures along with anatomy photographs that are overlaid with anatomical illustrations.

Author (s): Richard Drake Ph.D., A. Wayne Vogl Ph.D., Adam W. M. Mitchell MB BS FRCS FRCR, Richard Tibbitts, Paul Richardson 

Publisher: Churchill Livingstone

Current Edition: 3rd edition, Paperback and eTextbook (March 3, 2020)

Pages: 648 pages 

5. Abrahams’ and McMinn’s Clinical Atlas of Human Anatomy: with STUDENT CONSULT Online Access


Abrahams’ and McMinn’s Clinical Atlas of Human Anatomy presents clear visual guidance that a medical student needs to excel in examinations. It also helps the user to understand the spatial relationships necessary all through medical training as well as the practical anatomical knowledge required for future clinical practice. 

The author and this team comprising internationally recognized anatomists and radiologists work together to link a wide array of clinical images. Their effort helps you to master the correlations between clinical practice and anatomy. Here are some of the things you should look forward to when you pick up Abrahams’ and McMinn’s Clinical Atlas of Human Anatomy:

  • Correlation of clinical practice to anatomical science through the help of DSA, CT, MR, endoscopic, operative, and radiographic images. Each image demonstrates how different structures in the human body are viewed in a clinical setting today.
  • New dissections provide clarity to the user with consistency all through the different regions of the book.
  • Brand new color overlays to selected dissections to make identification of key arteries, nerves, veins, and lymphatics a lot easier.
  • A fully revised neuroanatomy section that focuses on the latest understanding of functional neuroanatomy through the lens of functional imaging and modern 3D.
  • It comes with an enhanced eBook that unlocks a bonus clinical material to help you enjoy studying the text while making vivid connections between anatomy and clinical practice.

Author (s): Peter H. Abrahams MBBS FRCS (ED) FRCR DO (Hon) FHEA, Jonathan D. Spratt MA (Cantab) FRCS (Eng) FRCR, Marios Loukas MD Ph.D., Albert VanSchoor BSc Med Sci. BSc (Hons) MSc Ph.D. 

Publisher: Elsevier

Current Edition: 8th edition, Paperback and eTextbook (March 20, 2019)

Pages: 412 pages 

6. Atlas of Anatomy


This text, Atlas of Anatomy, is put together on a longstanding reputation that makes it one of the highest quality atlases of human anatomy ever. It contains over 2,000 exquisite illustrations, each one with as many details as possible. The atlas allows students and seasoned professionals to gain more mastery of human anatomy.

This atlas may be in its fourth edition, but there are several new additions to expect from the text. Some of them include:

  • An array of expanded radiology sections that include more than 40 new MRIs, CTs, and radiographs.
  • An improved dissection approach to the neck and head regions. This approach puts the anatomy of the neck ahead of the anatomy of the head, similar to the process adopted by most students.
  • Lots of additional tables and images that challenge the peritoneal cavity’s anatomy. It also challenges the anatomy of the infratemporal and pterygopalatine fossae and inguinal regions.
  • Close to 30 new clinical boxes that focus on pathology, anatomic variation, diagnostic techniques, function, and lots more.

Author (s): Anne M Gilroy, Brian R MacPherson, Jamie Wikenheiser, Michael Schuenke, Erik Schulte, Udo Schumacher 

Publisher: Thieme

Current Edition: 4th edition, Paperback and eTextbook (June 25, 2020)

Pages: 778 pages

7. Photographic Atlas of Anatomy (Lippincott Connect) Ninth


Photographic Atlas of Anatomy is the final atlas of human anatomy for medical students that we will discuss in this post. This text features outstanding photographs of actual cadaver dissections in full color. Accompanying these photographs are diagnostic images and schematic drawings that help students to develop mastery of human anatomy easily. 

This atlas depicts anatomic structures in a more realistic manner than you will find in most traditional atlases. Here are some of the things you should expect from using this atlas:

  • The chapters are organized by region for easier navigation.
  • Over 1,200 dissection photos, clinical illustrations, and medical imaging in full color.
  • Authentic photographic reproduction of structures, spatial dimensions, and colors to help the user get more familiar with human anatomy.
  • It establishes functional connections between organs, surrounding tissue, and different organ systems to help you prepare better for practical exams and the dissection lab.

Author (s): Johannes W. Rohen MD, Chihiro Yokochi MD, Elke Lutjen-Drecoll PhD.

Publisher: LWW

Current Edition: Ninth, North American edition, Paperback and eTextbook (April 15, 2021)

Pages: 752 pages