Description: This is a comprehensive review of complications in surgery and many of its subspecialties.
Purpose: Information is gathered regarding the incidence and management of complications encountered in the surgical care of patients. Methods of prevention are also described.
Audience: Senior trainees in surgery, teachers of surgery, and non-surgeons with significant responsibility for the care of surgical patients are an appropriate audience. While the author base is international, the largest number of contributors comes from the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami.
Features: After a review of complications in the critical care unit including resuscitation, shock, and anesthesia matters, complications specific to surgical procedures and disciplines begins with an organ-based discussion of complications related to surgical procedures of the gastrointestinal tract. Endocrine, thoracic, and cardiovascular surgery complications are then discussed as well as transplantation complications related to intrathoracic organs. Later chapters describe complications of trauma (particularly orthopedic trauma), neurosurgery, and genitourinary surgery with concluding comments on general surgery complications during pregnancy. Chapters are well written and black-and-white line drawings are used to good effect. Tables are also occasionally used which, like the line drawings, reproduce well. Each chapter is well referenced but original work dates to at least five years prior to publication. The table of contents includes chapter title, authorship and indication of subheadings while the concluding subject index is extensive.
Assessment: This is an excellent overview of a difficult subject. The approach to the presentation of the topics is not consistent between chapters, but the overall quality of presentations is good. Discussion of complications due to trauma could be better concentrated and organized.