Surgical Book Reviews


ASiT Surgical Book Reviews 

Catch up on the latest surgery-related text books published in your field. 

The Hands-On Guide to Surgical Training (Hands-on Guides)
Matthew Stephenson - Royal Sussex County Hospital, London
978-0-470-67261-7 | January 2012 | 326 pages | RRP £19.99

For those considering surgical training, or for those already progressing through this, “The Hands-on Guide to Surgical Training” is a very readable 304-page guide to the nitty-gritty key points no-one ever tells you about. Comprehensive in its coverage, the text starts with an introduction to the clinical side of surgery. Career structure, surgical equipment and sutures (with colour pictures) together with useful advice on theatre etiquette all offer an excellent introduction to those new to the operating theatre environment. The three most frequently encountered operations are reviewed, including operative photographs, and a guide to ward rounds and clinics provides a wealth of practical experience about what to do and when. The non-clinical chapters explain the different stages of training prior to entering core surgery, and each surgical specialty is then addressed in-depth including recruitment, exams and a trainee eye-view of what it is like to work in the specialty. What really makes this book stand out is the useful training information that all trainees want to know, but which is usually hard to come by and impossible to find in one place. Competition ratios for different surgical specialties, specific career advice for women in surgery, an overview of the training bodies overseeing surgery, the European Working Time Directive and pay-banding all stand out as very pertinent areas trainees should know about, but which are rarely often covered in similar textbooks. The pocket-size format of this book is perfect for carrying around at work and the text contains bold highlights to pick out the useful sections, although in some chapters this is perhaps a little over-done. Overall, this book comes highly recommended as a unique resource that manages to combine key practical clinical information with the really useful sort of training information that many will be keen to read.


How to Operate: for MRCS Candidates and other surgical trainees
Matthew Stephenson - Royal Sussex County Hospital, London
9780470657447 | August 2011 | 188 pages + 3 DVDs | RRP £74.99

How to Operate offers a unique and useful addition to the bookshelves (and DVD players) of those progressing through basic surgical training. Combining three DVDs with a 268-page colour text book, the package provides a new take on operative training. Detailed step-by-step videos of common operations are each accompanied by a chapter in the text-book detailing the procedural steps, coupled with operative pictures, radiographs and anatomical diagrams to illustrate the important learning points. The DVD videos provide a clearly narrated guide to operative practice, pitched for the junior trainee starting out in the operating theatre. The narration tackles the realities of operations and their difficulties with useful tips and a common sense, occasionally humorous approach not found in more senior and specialist titles that often seem to present a more polished version of reality than one encounters in your own operating theatre. Overall, this is a long-overdue adjunct to surgical teaching and one that many surgical trainees at the core/senior house office/resident level will find greatly beneficial to their training.


Essential Immunology for Surgeons
Edited by Oleg Eremin and Herb Sewell
Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780199586875
At 510-pages, this hardback guide to immunology for surgeons is a weighty tome dedicated to a specialist area of interest. The text covers basic immunology, trauma and tissue injury, transplantation immunology, cancer and immune response, sespsis and immune response, nutrition and immunity, therapy and host defences, autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, and principles of immunological assays and molecular technologies. A useful short glossary is also provided. Each chapter starts with key summary points and ends with summary points and lengthy references. Some chapters also recommend specific journals related to the field, online resources and other relevant text books. Several colour plates are also provided, although the majority of the book is otherwise illustrated with occasional black and white line diagrams. The writing is authorative, although not as easy to dip in and out of as the ‘Essential’ title might lead you to believe. The coverage is detailed, and specifically targets areas of surgical interest such as relevant models of sepsis, for example peritoneal cavity inoculation with faecal material and the caecal ligation and puncture model. This will undoubtedly be referenced by those with a special interest in this area, either through research or relevant areas of surgical practice such as transplant surgery. I’m not sure that the ‘Essential’ in the title is that appropriate for such a lengthy and detailed hardback text – although perhaps the non-'essential' version may be several volumes longer!


Anatomy Colour-in Flashcards
Royal Society of Medicine Press,ISBN 9781853159701
Many readers will remember to anatomy colouring books of old; the thought you might learn something while painlessly colouring it in was always appealing. This new pack takes two old ideas and combines them, so now not only can you colour in but you’ve got some portable-sized flash cards to revise with too. There are 264 cards covering all the main body systems. The reverse of each card contains detailed anatomical descriptions and answers. While some of the areas are slightly more medical school basic science orientated, there is no doubt the anatomical diagrams are useful in revising anatomical names and relationships. Oh, and 8 colour pencils are included!

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
(Oxford Specialist Handbooks in Surgery)
Kerawala & Newlands, ISBN 9780199204830
Oxford University Press
For anyone who lived with the OHCM (aka the ‘cheese and onion’) in their pocket during medical school, the format of this new addition to the Oxford Specialist Handbooks range will be very familiar. Bound with the standard (and practical) wipe-clean plastic covers, this page-at-a-glance pocketsized guide manages to condense the core knowledge of OMFS down into 475 quick-reference pages. Easy and fast to dip in and out of, the bullet-pointed concise text addresses the syllabus for the exit FRCS in OMFS in a clear and practical fashion. With numerous figures and photographs to illustrate procedures, this is a very useful text for those progressing through this specialty.

The Anatomy Student’s Self-test Colouring Book
Kurt Albertine, ISBN 9781853157578
Royal Society of Medicine Press
Similar in format to other anatomy colouring books, this new spiral-bound text provides a useful introduction to the nomenclature of human anatomy. With more than 350 illustrations, it provides comprehensive coverage with labelled diagrams and accompanying notes throughout. Although aimed at a more basic medical student level, those preparing for MRCS may find it a useful revision aid.

Clinical Surgery: A Practical Guide
Baker & Aldoori, ISBN 9780340940846
Hodder Arnold Publishing
This newly released text provides a very useful handbook-sized guide to the breadth of surgery-in-general. The chapters are practical, and frequently problem based addressing common surgical problems and emergencies. Well structured throughout, with good use of tables, illustrations and summaries, it is easy to dip into quickly. While clearly readable by all those with an interest in this area, it seems particularly well suited to MRCS and junior registrars in need of a comprehensive yet concise coverage of topics. Test uestions and references at the end of each chapter are useful for those wanting to learn more about the areas covered.

OSCEs for the MRCS Part B (Bailey & Love Revision
Fishman, Elwell & Chowdhury, Hodder, ISBN 9780340985809
Arnold Publishing
A new addition to the many MRCS revision books available, this text follows a familiar format up-dated in line with the continuing evolution of the MRCS. Covering anatomy, surgical pathology, applied surgical science, critical care, patient safety and surgical skills, communication skills, and history taking and examination, this book provides a comprehensive test of the core areas.

Human Sectional Anatomy: Pocket Atlas of Body Sections, CT and MRI Images (3rd edn)
Ellis, Logan & Dixon, ISBN 9780340985168
Hodder Arnold Publishing
Similar to the pictorial anatomy atlases that many will be familiar with from medical school, this book brings a cadaver-worth of well photographed and carefully labelled images into the radiological era. Each colour cross sectional image is accompanied by relevant radiological imaging, line diagrams, orientations and annotated notes. This book is notable for its’ excellent, clear layout and clinical relevance. Ideal for those preparing for exams, or indeed anyone trying to interpret scans or the radiologists report!

Companion to Specialist Surgical Practice Series
Saunders Elsevier Publishing
This popular range of 8 volumes gives in depth coverage of the general surgery sub-specialities at a level suitable for FRCS revision, and reference throughout a career in surgery. Newly revised, two of these texts are reviewed in more depth below. The full range of volumes is as follows:
• Core Topics in General and Emergency Surgery
• Oesophagogastric Surgery
• Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery
• Colorectal Surgery
• Breast Surgery
• Endocrine Surgery
• Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
• Transplantation Surgery

Vascular and Endovascular Surgery (4th Edn)
A Companion to Specialist Surgical Practice

Beard & Gaines, ISBN 9780702030116
Saunders Elsevier Publishing
The latest edition of this well-regarded series continues to provide a reference source for higher surgical trainees, in particular those preparing for their FRCS. The latest management issues and operative procedures are covered, providing a comprehensive up-date. With a strong emphasis on evidence-based practice, the text is fully referenced throughout. This new edition also introduces colour text and pictures, with useful illustrations and diagrams providing clarity where needed. The Companion to Specialist Surgical Practice series is now also available on-line as an ebook at

Endocrine Surgery (4th Edn) A Companion to
Specialist Surgical Practice
Tom Lennard, ISBN 9780702030161
Saunders Elsevier Publishing
Another revision of this well-regarded series, the fourth edition of Endocrine Surgery refreshes the text and provides up-to-date evidence to support management and treatment decisions across the breadth of this sub-speciality. At 231-pages this hard-back book is a heavyweight reference in its field. With contributing authors noted as experts in their respective fields, this provides in-depth coverage suitable for FRCS and beyond. In-line with the other new editions in this series, colour is now used throughout and extensive use of referencing is made to original research papers. The text
is enhanced by numerous radiographs, illustrations and tables to display the relevant information. The Companion to Specialist Surgical Practice series is now also available online as an ebook at

Liver and Pancreatobiliary Surgery with liver
(Oxford Specialist Handbooks in Surgery)
Sutcliffe, Antoniades, Deshpande, Tucker & Heaton
ISBN 9780199205387
Oxford University Press
Another new edition to the familiar plastic-bound and pocket-sized Oxford Handbook range, this slim text provides a succinct bullet-pointed guide to liver and pancreatobiliary surgery, together with liver transplantation. At 293-pages, it provides a detailed description of the diseases and subsequent management encountered in this speciality. Interventional procedures are covered together with operative techniques, all illustrated with explanatory diagrams and black and white pictures. The quick reference style these OUP handbooks are known for is usefully deployed in this book, which will make a useful guide to keep in the pocket for trainees in this speciality.

Recent Advances in Surgery (number 32)
Edited by Taylor & Johnson, ISBN 9781853158742
Royal Society of Medicine Press
The ‘Recent Advances’ series is a well known and well established offering from RSM Press. This latest edition continues the tradition of expert-authored chapters updating trainees on the latest trends, research and surgical techniques within the general surgical sub-specialities. From the management of patients with breast cancer through to recent advances in laparoscopic surgery, the breadth and
topicality of this book continue to make it essential reading for all those preparing to take their MRCS and especially FRCS exams.

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