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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Mark R Hutchinson, MD (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: This concise book is designed as a pocket guide to physical examination and diagnosis of the musculoskeletal system. It walks sequentially through anatomic parts and discusses common diagnoses, physical exam, and recommendations for further studies. The book is intended to slide into a lab coat pocket and includes a CD version that can be downloaded to a personal digital assistant.
Purpose: The stated goal is to provide a diagnostic approach in a concise fashion that cuts out distracting minutia without losing the fundamental focus of accurate diagnosis. This is clearly a valuable goal but it must always be appreciated that such an approach is only a beginning and a more in-depth, complete evaluation and understanding of the diagnosis and ultimate treatment is necessary.
Audience: The author does not specifically define a target audience but the guide obviously would be a great benefit to students in training and practitioners for whom musculoskeletal education was not a prime focus of their training. A number of studies have noted the relatively poor training in musculoskeletal medicine most medical schools provide their students as well as the significant portion of musculoskeletal medicine seen by primary care physicians who may have not had optimal training in their residency. This book can answer the challenge of that inadequacy.
Features: While fundamental, the guide is complete and does a nice job of sequentially presenting anatomy and physical examination. It is useful as a quick reference as readers can easily jump from body part to body part. The most unique aspect is the value-added electronic version which is included in every book and allows the user to place it on a personal digital assistant and have it immediately at hand. Any attempt at being brief and concise risks cutting out important information that may be necessary to diagnosis a uniquely peculiar condition or atypical patient. One such effort at brevity is the omission of references, which prevents the reader from finding other literature based on the author's recommendations.
Assessment: This unique offering would be of value for medical students and practitioners who may not have extensive training in musculoskeletal diagnosis and who want to have direct access to a quick reference for musculoskeletal exam and diagnosis. Special kudos go to the author and publisher who had the foresight to provide an electronic version for the ubiquitous PDAs.