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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Patricia Wong, MD (Stanford University Medical Center)
Description: Written for family practitioners, the book has a teach yourself, step-by-step approach to learning dermatology. Each different type of skin lesion is covered in the same way: a little clinical vignette and then questions concerning the differential diagnosis, counseling of the patient, and treatment. Answers are provided and explanations in simple terms are suggested for patient education. It would be better to have the photos integrated with the text instead of having them at the back of the book forcing readers to flip back and forth.
Purpose: The purpose is to help primary care physicians feel more comfortable with diagnosing and managing common skin diseases. Guidelines are given when to obtain a dermatology consult.
Audience: The audience is family practitioners and general medicine physicians.
Features: The authors do a good job of distilling dermatology down to the basic nuts and bolts where a novice should not feel too overwhelmed by the information. The salient facts about different skin entities and common sense approaches for management are presented in a clear fashion. The color photographs are of variable quality and, in general, would not be that helpful in diagnosis. One can ascertain the general pattern and distribution but the photos are usually not detailed enough to observe the careful description in the text.
Assessment: This is a good beginning dermatology book for primary care physicians wishing to increase their expertise in handling skin problems. I would recommend supplementing it with a good color clinical atlas, either Wall et al.'s Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology, 5th edition (McGraw-Hill, 2005) or Habif's Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy, 4th edition (Elsevier, 2004). The book is useful for clinical management and differential diagnosis. One of the authors is an MD and JD so an attorney has reviewed the information and worded some documentation and discussion tips.