Even though this 30th edition of Gray's Anatomy came to me spanking fresh, the distinct odor of formaldehyde seemed to drift up from the opened pages, and, as I scanned the illustrations, nostalgia enveloped me. Nearly 200 drawings from the original illustrations that were published in 1859 appear in this edition, as they did in my own dog-eared 25th edition. This edition of the "oldest (more than 125 years) continuously used textbook in biomedical science" has taken on many new illustrations, new descriptions, and a revised bibliography. All of these help to make it attractive to the modern reader.
Why then, do surgeons generally lack enthusiasm for Gray's Anatomy, despite its impressive genealogy and updating? The answer lies in the following methods for presenting anatomy, of which there are three: (1) systemic anatomy, eg, skeletal, muscular, and vascular systems; (2) regional anatomy, eg, pectoral and axillary areas; and (3) applied