Edited by Mark Davenport and Paolo Coppi
Published by Oxford University Press (January 2021)
This is the first time I have looked at a book in this series (Oxford Specialist Handbooks In Surgery) and I was very impressed. This is different from the well known and highly regarded Oxford Medical Handbook series (https://global.oup.com/academic/content/series/o/oxford-medical-handbooks-oxhmed/?lang=en&cc=gb) and have their own characteristics see https://global.oup.com/academic/content/series/o/oxford-specialist-handbooks-in-surgery-oshsurg/?lang=en&cc=gb As the title suggests, these are specialist handbooks and in this particular handbook, the core audience are relevant surgical trainees, established specialists and specialist nursing staff -and in this particular book all in the subject of paediatric surgery. From a personal perspective, after reviewing this book, I would add primary care to this list.
This small paperback handbook packs in a huge amount of information into it’s 527 pages and the editors and most of the contributors are based in the UK, giving a very much British perspective to this superb book. The book is readable and surprisingly comprehensive for such a small but text packed handbook. I found this from a primary care perspective -a really good and helpful book. Of course there are some significant surgical details, after all, it is aimed at a surgical audience but the surgical details are understandable and interesting. I decided to read the section on hypospadias -Page 320 and this was an excellent clinical description. The depth is ideal from a primary care perspective and is a really good account. The surgical details, ideal for a surgical trainee is more than a GP needs to know but I still found it relevant and interesting.
There is good coverage across the spectrum of relevant topics with Chapter 3 covering Fetal Medicine and Surgery followed by chapter 4 on Neonatal Medicine. I liked the text box on Page 232 which is under foreign bodies, which stated “You name it, kids will swallow it”! but followed by a sobering Box (6.2) on the significant dangers caused by rare earth magnets. In the same chapter (Chapter 6 Children’s surgery) I found an excellent description on Intussusception (Page 282) which covers 2 pages which face each other. It is easy to read and I found it educational and the surgical management, interesting.
Whilst I was reviewing this book, I came across the topic of tongue tie and it’s indications. Naturally I checked this book and in the index under tongue tie, I was asked to look at Ankyloglossia. At page 239 on the last paragraph, there were a few sentences that provided all the information, I needed to know. It was short and to the point, perfect for what I was looking for.
I have recently reviewed the Oxford Handbook of Paediatrics, part of the sister Oxford Medical Handbook series -see here https://www.glycosmedia.com/oxford-handbook-of-paediatrics-3rd-edition/ and I think that this book could easily be sold and bundled together with the Oxford Handbook of Paediatrics (Same publishers) to make a great paediatric resource. Though any user could simply buy both.
It is an excellent handbook and seemingly covers all the bases, it is not cheap but it is not silly expensive either as it has a limited market. One criticism is that it would be great if an electronic version could be bundled with the purchase of the book. Many modern medical textbooks come bundled with a digital version and it is a shame that this excellent book cannot join the club. In saying that, it is compact and quite portable but despite its modest dimensions, it certainly contains plenty of information.
Dr Harry Brown
13th May 2021