Description: This reference about surgical outcomes has a unique and effective structure, in which clear diagrams and tables are presented on one page and a written description of the algorithm are on the facing page. The elegance of this design is that it affords simple navigation and rapid identification of issues.
Purpose: The purpose is to fill the much-needed void in the surgical literature in which a text functions as a reliance compendium for surgical outcome. The editors designed this book to allow readers of all levels to quickly understand the surgical outcome(s) surrounding a particular disease. They achieve their laudable goal with this text by delivering valuable content which is important to surgical practitioners.
Audience: Although targeted to the practicing general surgeon, this book is written at a level that is accessible to a much broader audience. Medical students, residents, case managers, and administrative executives would benefit from having this text available to them for their daily activities. Taken together, these editors and contributors have a history of outcome-based thinking and are credible in their presentation.
Features: General surgery is emphasized, and other domains such as vascular, cardiothoracic, transplantation, and pediatric surgery are all covered. Unfortunately the editors are unable to encompass even more diseases into this text. The rationale for omission of some pertinent topics is understandable, however, since even today outcomes for certain surgical disorders are not well understood. The only substantive shortcoming is the apparent desire to always apply an outcome percentage to each and every disorder. This has the effect of placing a broad range of percentages to a particular disorder as exemplified by the non-operative liver trauma rate of 20%-70%. However, the diagrams are clear and concisely organized, which facilitates rapid navigation through the text.
Assessment: This is a welcome addition to a surgeon's portfolio of textbooks and references. It is clear, concise, and organized in a simple, readable manner. As a reference manual, this text should be beneficial to a broad base of readers including medical students, residents, surgeons, and administrative personnel.