Description: This easy to read reference guide provides basic fundamental information about surgical principles, pathology, and procedures. The layout, chapter division, and bullet point format renders it a convenient handbook most appropriate for junior residents and medical students.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a basic foundation, a starting point so to speak, of the knowledge that a surgical trainee must eventually gain during residency. This is a worthy objective, as residents are often bombarded with information from multiple sources and need a convenient resource to help focus their studies. This book definitely fulfills this goal, as each chapter highlights the important issues related to the diagnosis and management of surgical diseases.
Audience: Although written for all levels of surgical trainees and students, it seems most appropriate for midlevel and junior surgical residents or medical students who are interested in pursuing a surgical residency.
Features: A unique chapter on the principles of surgery provides readers an opportunity to understand common signs and symptoms associated with acute and chronic surgical diseases. It also discusses the applicability of a wide range of tests and radiologic studies used for the evaluation of surgical diseases. This, in particular, is extremely useful for junior or midlevel residents who are starting to see seeing new evaluations in clinics or surgical consults in the ER or wards. In addition, this chapter provides a comprehensive discussion of common surgical complications and their management. This certainly enhances the quality and usefulness of the book. The chapter on practical procedures also provides surgical trainees adequate descriptions of common surgical procedures such as chest tube placement, central line insertion, airway management, etc. Unfortunately, the paucity of illustrations in this particular chapter limits its usefulness as a quick reference to assist in the performance of these procedures.
Assessment: This book does provide surgical residents with a superficial yet broad understanding of the principles, pathology, diagnosis, and management of surgical diseases. It is highly effective as a stepping stone to grasping the fundamental knowledge that one must gain during a surgical residency. It appears to be most appropriately suited for the junior resident level. It remains incumbent upon surgical trainees to then master their knowledge of surgery through the use of textbooks, journal reviews, staff, and experience. The format of the book, the way the chapters are divided, and the particular information provided in bullet points make it one of high impact. In comparison to other review books, such as Surgical Recall, 5th edition (2009), or Advanced Surgical Recall, 3rd edition (2008), both by Blackbourne (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins), this book is more comprehensive and superior in the way the information is organized and presented, but inferior in terms of illustrations and visual aids. Compared to The Mont Reid Surgical Handbook, 6th edition, University of Cincinnati Residents (Elsevier, 2008), this book lacks illustrations and visual aids and it also is less resourceful for helping surgical residents deal with ward issues and floor calls. On the other hand, this book is much more concise and touches upon the more important facts associated with a surgical process.