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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Kristine Clodfelter Orion, BA, MD (University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics)
Description: Written for midlevel medical students, this book is a collection of surgical case scenarios which begin with a clear concise history of an illness accompanied by appropriately selected photographs. Discussion is in the form of questions followed by short paragraphs. Similar chief complaints are grouped together, allowing students to explore the differential diagnosis. The book concludes with a self-assessment section.
Purpose: The authors' intent is to supplement medical students' clinical experience and provide a means of refreshing the memory prior to examinations. This is a worthy objective as students have limited time and often do well with memory recall if they have been exposed to actual photographs. Although certainly not a comprehensive text for surgical cases, the book does far exceed its intended objective.
Audience: It is written for medical students during their surgical rotations. The first author is a member of the department of surgery at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, and the second author is a clinical anatomist at the University of London.
Features: The book covers a broad range of typical surgical cases any medical student should encounter in training. It includes urology and obstetric/gynecological problems, which are relevant to the general surgeon. Individual cases are concise and to the point. Of note, the discussions with each scenario vary from pathophysiology to prognosis to actual surgical approach. Although this provides for renewed curiosity with each turning of the page, it falls short of covering essential teaching points in certain subjects. The self-assessment section is well thought out, with answers that are accompanied by explanation. In the end, the book is most valuable for its photography and diagrams, which are well selected and can strongly enhance a student's learning.
Assessment: This book is well worth the price for a quick review of surgical cases. As intended, it should be used as a supplement and not a detailed text. Readers should be forewarned that the format does not include going through the same information with each subject. In other words, the etiology of gallstones is covered while the etiology of a sebaceous cyst is not. It does not match the Case Files series (McGraw-Hill) or the Blueprints series (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins) in comprehensive discussion, but its fantastic selection of photographs and diagrams certainly outshine most surgical review books.