Subtle differences emerge from a review of our ‘book reviews’ over the years. The expansion of specialist journals has reflected the contracture of orthopaedic scope for the average surgeon. The subspeciality journals have assumed the role of collectors and presenters of statistical evidence, from which biased opinion slowly develops towards truth.
The comprehensive textbook, such a standard 50 years ago, and so famously contributory to postgraduate and undergraduate education, has quietly faded from the scene. Those texts assumed biblical authority from the monographs by Watson Jones, Crawford Adams, Mercer, Apley etc, in the United Kingdom, but now they have given way to the Instructional Course Lecture notes, the occasional review article, or sadly the commercial blurb on implant technique. In the form of the latter, surgical education has been subsumed by industry, based upon manufactured equipment, designed to be disposable.
It is therefore refreshing to recommend a brilliant little book, by a hand surgeon of rich personal experience, who’s single purpose is to present his experience, and through it his observations and conclusions. The essence of the work is simplification with a real appreciation that open surgery is itself an injury. With that basis there remain instances in which planned intervention is essential if function is to be restored. The book fulfils two functions; apart from presenting the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of hand reconstruction, it will fascinate any orthopaedic surgeon in the presentation of reasons, and it will open several doors for the non-specialist to perform perfectly simple first aid repairs. There is no doubt that the sooner traumatic lesions are recognised and reduced, the better the result (given, of course, good and delicate surgery).
I cannot recommend this work too highly. The writing is a delight to read, and it satisfies all the claims on the back of its jacket.
- © 2010 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery