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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Carol Scott-Conner, MD, PhD (University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics)
Description: This 25th edition of a classic book, true to the original, remains copiously illustrated, terse and meaty, and wide-ranging in its coverage of all surgical issues. Statements verge on the dogmatic, but have the advantage of leaving no doubt in the reader's mind as to the point. The editors have kept a tight rein on the contributors and duplication is minimal. Boxed summaries (e.g. Causes of Acute Postoperative Shortness of Breath) are succinct and worth memorizing. The previous edition was published in 2004, making the current revision quite timely.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a "high quality, comprehensive textbook" and also to "retain the feel of the original." These are worthy but competing objectives. This book will not take the place of a standard, comprehensive text such as Greenfield's Surgery: Scientific Principles and Practice, 4th edition, Mulholland et al. (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006), but rather will supplement it. The vast number of illustrations of pathologic entities, many rarely seen in modern practice, and the sensible arrangement of the material make it an excellent adjunct. General surgeons will find value not only in familiar subjects but also in those areas remote from their special areas of expertise, e.g. sports medicine, benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Audience: The book is written primarily for students and trainees. They will find it a refreshingly concise, no-nonsense reference. It will also be of interest to experienced practitioners, who will revel in the wealth of illustrations. The authors are all authorities in their fields.
Features: The full gamut of diseases treated by surgery is covered, including the subspecialties. Material is organized in a highly entertaining and useful format. Illustrations are particularly excellent, and boxed material summarizes important points. Separate boxes give brief historical detail on individuals for whom various syndromes are named. The single shortcoming of the book is that, by virtue of being concise and terse, it risks being dogmatic in areas where there is considerable doubt. The book is heavy on the practical, and light on the theoretical. This will please surgeons and trainees looking for guidance in everyday situations.
Assessment: This is unique among books of its size. It is a worthy successor to Hamilton Bailey's original, and it remains true to the spirit of that text. It has been brought completely up to date with this most recent edition. Although it will not supplant other comprehensive textbooks, it will serve as a worthy accompaniment to them.