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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Renata H. Mullen, MD (Palo Alto Medical Foundation)
Description: This 21-pound set of books easily accomplishes the monumental task of providing a comprehensive review of the entire field of dermatology. It is organized with a unique color-coding system for easy accessibility. Many high quality color photographs, as well as useful tables, algorithms, and therapeutic ladders supplement the written text. The previous edition was published in 2003.
Purpose: According the authors, the goal for this book is simply for it to never make its way back to the bookshelf. More precisely, the aim is to provide easily accessible, succinct, up-to-date information that is both precise and practical. These worthy objectives are admirably met.
Audience: The book is written primarily for dermatologists and dermatology residents, but it can also be helpful to motivated medical students as well as primary care physicians.
Features: The book covers the entire spectrum of the dermatology subspecialty, including basic science, dermatopathology, clinical dermatology, and dermatologic surgery. A section on medical therapy provides not only detailed tables regarding drug monitoring guidelines and side effects of standard medications, but also gives information on alternative medicines as well. Lastly, a section on physical treatment modalities complements the therapeutic review. The brilliant organization is the best thing about this book, which makes it easily accessible and user-friendly, whether for detailed perusal or the quick check during a busy clinic. Each section is color-coded and each chapter within a section is clearly marked; each chapter is organized similarly and starts with a box of highlighted key features. This efficient organization further serves to decrease overlap of information; rather than repeating the same information in several different chapters, the reader is merely directed to the pertinent section. Other major pluses for the book are the numerous algorithms, tables, and therapeutic ladders that significantly enhance the learning experience. The tables in the chapter on purpura alone are worth the price of the book as this difficult subject is presented in a clear and logical manner based on clinical morphology. The only shortcoming of the book is its unwieldy weight and size, but, fortunately, an online version is available for those with weak muscles.
Assessment: This is a valuable, comprehensive textbook that is a worthwhile addition to any dermatologist's library. I have owned the first edition for the past six years and have found myself referring to it almost exclusively over other, similar textbooks, because it is more complete and more clinically relevant. This second edition is an improved version and definitely justifies replacing the first edition. I highly recommend it to any physician interested in dermatology, whether just starting in training or a seasoned practitioner.