6 Best Surgical Anatomy Textbooks (2023 Review)

When it comes to the medical specialty, having the right material is a must especially if you’re an aspiring surgeon aiming to come out the best in your class.

While being one of the most rewarding medical fields, it is also one of the most tasking ones that will require you to grasp a lot of information that has to do with performing practical procedures. For you to do this effectively and polish your surgical skills, you will need the best surgical anatomy textbook on the market.

best surgical anatomy textbooks

Best Surgical Anatomy Textbooks: Our Top 6 Picks

The best surgical anatomy textbook will improve your understanding of the basic concepts and your performance in your clinical rotations. We have searched the market and found these options to be of top-notch quality.

1. Gray’s Surgical Anatomy


For aspiring surgeons, Gray’s Surgical Anatomy provides the right details that consolidate surgical anatomical and technical knowledge for the entire human body in a single text. This book is the product of expert surgeons in collaboration with a world-renowned anatomist making it one of the most excellent resources to gain anatomical knowledge that will provide critical in the operating room.

This book is considered one of the best in the field of regional anatomy and will act as a dissection manual as well as an atlas of operative procedures making it a priceless resource for surgeons as well as surgical trainees at all levels of experience. The book will also appeal to students, radiologists, anatomists interested in the subject.

Visual learning is enhanced with superb color photographs taking right from the operating. It also contains detailed explanatory artwork and figures plus summary tables, and online videos. For students, the self-assessment questions and case-based scenarios ensure you get a better understanding of each topic within each chapter.

This book is considered a reliable resource by many readers even though it falls just under 700 pages long. Though not all long and extensive, it is comprehensive enough to cover many topics including the anatomy of lumbar puncture, epidural anesthesia, echocardiographic anatomy of the heart, and provides deep insight on human factors and minimizing error in the operating room.

  • Authors: Peter Prof. Brennan, Susan Standring, Sam Wiseman
  • Publisher: Elsevier
  • Current edition: 1st edition (January 2020)
  • Pages: 672 pages

2. Surgical Anatomy and Physiology for the Surgical Technologist


Surgical Anatomy and Physiology for the Surgical Technologist is quite different from most conventional A&P books. Rather than providing information on every aspect of the field, it mostly focuses on the surgical aspects of anatomy and physiology that the Core Curriculum for Surgical Technology requires. This includes the basic concepts of A&P and how they can be applied to practical surgery.

The first few chapters of the book break down the basics including the organization of the human body, chemistry, cellular structure, and function, as well as tissue and membrane. Moving to other chapters, you will find details on the skeletal system, muscular system, organ system, nervous system, sense, blood, heart, and more. The book essentially covers all the areas of the body that most aspiring surgeons will have to master in college and in clinical practice.

Throughout the book are examples that show the anatomy and physiology of each body system and how it relates to surgical procedures. Within its pages are case studies, key terms, review questions, and objectives for each chapter. There are also information boxes that tie specific anatomical elements to surgical practice and ensure easy learning.

  • Authors: Kevin B. Frey, Paul Price
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning
  • Current edition: 1st edition (November 2005)
  • Pages: 544 pages

3. Netter’s Surgical Anatomy Review P.R.N.


Netter’s Surgical Anatomy Review P.R.N. is a compact and portable guide that offers an easy and convenient way to refresh need-to-know anatomy for aspiring surgeons. The book introduces the concepts of surgical anatomy in seven sections.

The first section dives into the head and neck, issues on skull and face fractures as well as thyroid disease. The second section briefs you on the back and spinal cord including vertebral fractures. The third section is more in-depth providing an analysis of diseases of the breast, heart, lungs, esophageal, and rounding off with ribs and thorax fractures.

The fourth and fifth sections continue the explanation on common diseases including kidney diseases, pancreatic diseases, liver diseases, and small intestine diseases. The final two sections focus more on fractures of the hip and tight, wrist and hand, humerus, pectoral girdle, and more.

Overall, the book is well detailed with vibrant artwork that makes it easy to visualize the anatomy and procedures that will need to apply in a clinical condition. The material also makes use of illustrations to help direct students and surgeons thereby ensuring that they not only understand but also retain the information. To make things even easier, the text heavily relies on concise, bulleted explanations to relay information.

  • Author: Robert Trelease PhD
  • Publisher: Elsevier
  • Current edition: 2nd edition (June 2016)
  • Pages: 502 pages

4. Surgical Anatomy for Mastery of Open Operations


For a more compact, pocket-sized atlas and ebook that reviews the anatomy and basic surgical pathology of organs and prepares students for operations during surgical rotations, Surgical Anatomy for Mastery of Open Operations makes for the right choice. Though targeted at training residents, this book can serve as a credible source for aspiring surgeons and, medical students.

The text provides expert coverage of essential open procedures, both common and uncommon. The available procedures are well organized according to common anatomic categories, with step-by-step descriptions and accompanying videos to allow for easy understanding.

The book also breaks down the technical information essential for performing open operations safely and efficiently as well as covers once-common operations that remain essential in the modern surgeon’s repertoire, such as partial gastric resections, splenectomy, and common bile duct exploration.

The material covers all aspects of the body dedicating several chapters to the most important parts. It starts by detailing procedures for issues relating to the head and neck and moves into areas like the breast, neurovascular system of the upper extremity, thorax, abdominal wall, stomach. Other areas like the small and large intestine, liver, pancreas, and spleen are also given special attention in the book.

  • Author: Mark O. Jensen
  • Publisher: Wolters Kluwer Health
  • Current edition: First edition (March 2018)
  • Pages: 256 pages

5. Netter’s Surgical Anatomy and Approaches


Netter’s Surgical Anatomy and Approaches discuss procedures and anatomy from a surgeon’s point of view which might make it quite complicated for the regular student, however, aspiring surgeons and those with a basic knowledge of anatomy will find the information in the book extremely useful.

The book provides a clear review of the exposures, incision sites, surgically relevant landmarks, structures, and common anatomical variants that will prove relevant to general surgical operative procedures. The book can also serve as a resource in the class, in the lab, or in the operating room.

The latest edition of the book features new content including more surgical views and intra-operative imaging. esophagogastrectomy, laparoscopic Whipple,  rectal prolapse, and retroperitoneal lymph node dissection.

The book also offers access to more than 30 videos that highlight anatomy and its relevance in several procedures. The organization also promotes quick learning allowing you to easily find the right information without wasting time. The book is divided into several sections that detail procedures as well as references to be applied. You will find sections on the neck, endocrine, upper gastrointestinal, lower gastrointestinal, hepatobiliary, hernia, vascular, breast and oncology, vascular access and emergency procedures, and urology and gynecology.

  • Author: Conor MD Delaney MCh PhD FRSCI ( Gen) FACS
  • Publisher: Elsevier
  • Current edition: 2nd edition (September 2020)
  • Pages: 768 pages

6. Surgical Anatomy and Technique: A Pocket Manual


Though the title considers this book a pocket manual, Surgical Anatomy and Technique is far from that. The book is over 800 pages long so it won’t be quite easy to fit it into your pocket but it does come with all the necessary details you will require in the class, lab, or in the operating room.

This revised edition contains thoroughly updated chapters and new richly colored illustrations that make it easier to follow the techniques as well as better under the subject. The text also packs new robotic techniques as well as updates its existing chapters to reflect the current surgical approaches and instrumentations.

You will find three new chapters on kidney and ablative techniques for venous disease to give surgeons an in-depth view of these structures.

The first chapter of the book details procedures for the skin, scalp, and nails before moving to other areas like the neck and breast. You will also find helpful information on the stomach, duodenum, pancreas, small intestine, and liver. The last few chapters cover microsurgical procedures, miscellaneous procedures, and bariatric surgery.

Overall, this text comes with the right information that makes it stand out in correlating clear, practical anatomy with correct techniques to ensure the safest patient outcomes.

  • Editor: Lee J. Skandalakis
  • Publisher: Springer
  • Current edition: 5th ed. 2021 edition (April 2021)
  • Pages: 843 pages