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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: James Thomas Quann, B.S.; expected MD in May 2008(University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics)
Description: This pocket-sized wonder condenses the information of several surgical texts. The question and answer format is designed for focused learning and quick reviewing. The microvignettes and extra chapters, new since the 2003 version, are a welcome addition.
Purpose: The author far surpasses his desire to provide an advanced study aid for medical students and residents in surgery. First, the book is useful in all disciplines, not just surgery. Second, there is very little duplication of the basic Surgical Recall, 4th edition (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2007), but rather an incredible amount of depth and breadth.
Audience: The book is written for surgical residents and advanced medical students interested in surgery. However, all medical students and residents will benefit from this book. The book includes all the general surgery topics (in greater depth than expected), but also everything from chemotherapy drugs to nuances of lab tests.
Features: This book is remarkable in the depth and breadth of information it offers. The surgical subspecialty section alone is 365 pages and covers 13 subspecialties including ophthalmology. The question and answer format lends itself to a quick review on the way into the OR, or 10 minutes of high yield learning in the middle of the night when an ER consult is waiting and processing a traditional textbook chapter is not realistic. I am surprised more authors haven't adopted the format. A nonmedical significant other can quiz a partner with ease. The drawings are very good; the one-handed knot diagrams are as good as any I've ever seen. The index leaves a bit to be desired when hunting down specifics — I recommend flipping through the pages pertaining to the organ or topic instead of searching for overly detailed keywords in the index. Unfortunately for such a great book, there are several typos, none very serious, that are more of a nuisance than anything else.
Assessment: I'm impressed with the format and the exhaustive nature of this book. It is by far the best pocket-sized book I've encountered. It is a cliché to say learning is fun, but the question and answer format is fun: several times I've meant to look up one fact and find myself reading for 20 or 30 minutes. When I have two minutes to review on the way into the OR, it is clear and concise (and makes me look like a champ). The new edition is warranted, as the answers and treatments change. The microvignettes are a welcome addition. I am a huge fan of Surgical Recall (lost my first copy and went out and promptly paid retail for a second copy), and wondered if Advanced Surgical Recall could offer that much more. That doubt was quickly laid to rest.