For decades, perhaps centuries, the learning of complex areas of Anatomy has been assisted by the handing down of trite, amusing Mnemonics, Acronyms, Hints and clear, easily remembered (though sometimes a bit inaccurate), didactic rules. Every doctor has a few of these in his memory banks. When I questioned some of these doctors, they could remember complex sections of Anatomy by recalling some old ditty after 50 years. Many, however, were long forgotten. Through some fairly extensive research and with the aid of a good memory, I have compiled a sample of these aids in the form of this book. It is no substitute for an Anatomy text, but is more a helpful addition to areas that are proving difficult to learn, or may not be taught. They are helpful from undergraduate to surgical trainees.
I do not apologise for any items of a rude or ribald nature – these were the very items that were most recalled by Doctors. It seems the naughtier they are, the bigger impact they have. Apart from Mnemonics and Acronyms, I have included some of the less arguable didactic rules and some helpful clinical hints. The Anatomical names are fully written when first encountered, then later abbreviated. If you don’t know them, you need to go back and relearn an earlier item.
These little aids have great historic value. In fact there was a publication from 1939 to at least 1961, called ‘Irving’s Mnemonics’. Some are included here, but no-one has a monopoly on them all. Some disappear, new ones appear. But this is the best selection I can come up with.