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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Bruce E Jarrell, MD (University of Maryland School of Medicine)
Description: This book contains detailed information on a wide variety of general surgical topics, presented in tabular form and occasional algorithms.
Purpose: This book is intended as a review for third and fourth year medical students on surgery. There is a vast amount of data presented in it, so much so that it would be difficult for a third year student to digest in one rotation.
Audience: Although intended for third and fourth year medical students as a review while on the surgery clerkship, it is perhaps a little advanced for that group and might be more useful to more advanced trainees.
Features: The book is intended to present listings of most common symptoms or findings among various diseases in tabular form. Those "most common" problems are then followed by a discussion in the form of an answer and explanation. The types of categories that fall into the "most common" are symptoms, laboratory findings, physical findings, or other types of findings. The typical "most common" would be "the most common presentation for mediastinal disease is..." followed by an answer and explanation. The most commons are arranged in a large number of tables categorized by specific disease or abnormality. The book is a wealth of information for factual knowledge on specific "most commons" and from that point of view is a new contribution to the literature. The tables are organized and easy to read and are capable of delivering a large amount of information in a brief amount of time.
Assessment: I found this book more useful as a reference than a review for third and fourth year students, primarily because the "most commons" have such a wide range of possibilities that it is difficult to pair up what one wants to look up to the groupings in the book. I think that a student would have the same problem while reading the text. Thus some type of organizational over-structure in addition to the one provided would have helped it become a review book. I did not find the book useful for decision-making but certainly felt that it made a strong contribution to factual didactic knowledge. This book might be more useful for a resident or practicing surgeon who already has a large amount of clinical decision making knowledge but who needs a concise review related to presenting symptoms and management and treatment of a particular diagnosis.