Description: This is the latest edition of the multivolume plastic surgery textbook first edited by John M. Converse in 1964. Subsequent editions have been edited by Converse in 1977, Joseph G. McCarthy (with the title change to the current one) in 1990, and Stephen J. Mathes in 2006. Dr. Peter Neligan, the primary editor of the current edition, relies heavily on volume editors for each of the six volumes.
Purpose: Through the decades, this has remained the gold standard in plastic surgery textbooks. I have always had the most recent edition close to my desk and have used it as an initial reference when I have needed to review a topic. I will continue to use this edition in the same manner.
Audience: Plastic surgeons at all stages in their careers can benefit from this book. Students and residents can use it to gather essential information related to patient problems or in preparation for presentations on plastic surgery topics. Plastic surgery residents would be well served to read the entire book during the course of their residency to get a basic foundation of knowledge in the field. Established practitioners can use it to review problems they treat infrequently.
Features: The way topics are broken down for presentation is somewhat different than in previous editions. Some topics have been dropped, while newer areas such as hand and face transplantation are addressed. Volume 1, edited by Dr. Geoffrey Gurtner, covers principles; volume 2, edited by Dr. Richard Warren, is devoted to aesthetic surgery; volume 3, edited by Drs. Eduardo Rodriguez and Joseph Losee, combines craniofacial and head and neck surgery with pediatric surgery; volume 4, edited by Dr. David Song, concentrates on the lower extremity, trunk, and burns; volume 5, edited by Dr. James Grotting, covers the breast; and volume 6, edited by Dr. James Chang, focuses on the hand and upper extremity. The coverage of plastic surgery topics remains encyclopedic, and all of the authors are recognized experts in their subject areas.
Assessment: This edition demonstrates a number of differences from prior editions. The books themselves are slightly larger, and the majority of the photographs and patient diagrams are now in color. The art work is done in a uniform style and is of high quality. Each chapter has only selected references at the end, with the remainder, as well as additional content plus videos, available from the complementary online version available to purchasers of the print version. This edition incorporates changes consistent with our digital age, while maintaining the excellent content that has been the hallmark of this book throughout the years.