The biological basis of modern surgical practice
Edited by Townsend, Beauchamp, Evers and Mattox
Published by Elsevier (July 2016)
I had never heard of this book until now yet the first edition was published in 1936, so the editorial and publishing teams have had plenty of time to get this product just right. Judging by this latest, the 20th edition they seem to have certainly got it just spot on. This is a proper surgical textbook with a large array of contributors providing us with a massive amount of information within its 2146 pages. It is hugely detailed, well illustrated and yet easy to read and importantly, firmly rooted to be useful in clinical practice. This is very much an American textbook yet is useful to a global audience. I would imagine surgeons in training and established surgeons would value this textbook but at the same time, general physicians who want access to a single surgical textbook will find this more than useful and there is plenty of general medical detail as well.
It is beautifully produced and as would be expected from a high quality textbook, there is an excellent collection of clear and easy to understand figures, as well as tables and there is a sensible use text boxes. As a non-surgeon, I found the illustrations very helpful and there is a liberal use of radiologically acquired images, anatomical diagrams and live surgical pictures. These are very clear, well produced and highlight the accompanying text making the subject matter easier to understand.
As I said, it is liberally illustrated but as in most textbooks, it is the text that is important. Well it is very readable and understandable text, even to a non specialist like me and is an excellent source to read around a specific subject area or look up a specific clinical situation. In other words it can act both as a solid dependable reference source and equally it can help solve a clinical issue generated by a patient interaction.
Since it is part of the excellent ExpertConsult.com family, bundled with the price is an excellent web version which is easy to use. There is also an app version available (again bundled with the price of the book) which can be viewed on a tablet or smartphone but if you want to download it beware, it comes in at over a gigabyte. This is a superb one stop surgical reference source well worthy of consideration.
Dr Harry Brown