Description: This small book provides a good overview of surgery using a bullet-point style to emphasize important concepts. Chapters move logically from disease to anatomy and physiology, clinical presentation, evaluation, indications, treatment, and finally surgical results and complications. It is written at an appropriate level for third or fourth year medical students, interns, or residents, but it does not supplant the need for a more comprehensive book. Illustrations are in black and white, and an appendix includes ACLS and ATLS protocols. The whole text fits into a standard six-hole compact ring binder, making it easy to carry and to add material as desired.
Purpose: The book is designed to be small enough to carry at all times for reference when needed, to comprehensively prepare students for their clerkship or subinternship, and to provide interns with a ready reference for clinical care and for teaching medical students. These worthy objectives are largely met by the authors.
Audience: In addition to the intended audience of medical students, interns, and residents, this book also will be helpful to residents from other specialties who are rotating through general surgery. The contributing authors are both academic faculty and trainees from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The pairing of a trainee with a faculty member assures an ideal combination of "this is what you need to know" with an authoritative source for each chapter.
Features: The book provides a highly structured format rather than isolated facts, and the flow of information makes sense. Although it is relatively expensive for its size, if one can only buy/use one small book for surgery, this is it. The logical structure, clear organization, and inclusion of a fair amount of percentages and statistics facilitate understanding potential outcomes, both good and bad. With the large amount of material this book includes, the type font and size of illustrations are necessarily small. The appendix is helpful and includes drugs and dosages, but it is unfortunate that the ACLS diagrams are difficult to read due to poor reproduction.
Assessment: This book is great for ease of use and reference. It contains a wealth of details that are pertinent for patient care. It also provides the background for understanding the disease processes that we see in general surgery. The appendix will be particularly useful for an intern making decisions and having to look up dosages. I don't believe there are many small pocket books as good as this one. I recommend it if one has minimal resources and can only buy one book.