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Jeff Garner and Peter Goodfellow. (Pp 335; £19.99.) Hodder Arnold, 2004. ISBN 0-34081292-3.
The problem with textbooks of surgery is that they don’t present information in the way that it is asked in surgical vivas. The MRCS examiners know this, and the candidates usually find out when it’s too late. This book tries to address these issues and the authors are to be congratulated. The book is reasonably priced, easy to read, and deals with all the various sections of the MRCS examination. Each question is immediately followed by the recommended answer so you don’t have to go searching at the end of sections etc.
The topics covered are very varied and comprehensive. I spent a long time trying to catch the authors out with old chestnuts such as the oxygen delivery equation, action potentials, holes in the skull base, etc but they were all there when I looked. However one or two topics were missing such as atelectasis and FRC, how much carbohydrate and lipid for nutrition, what happens to lung volumes after pneumonectomy, but you can’t have everything.
On the whole if you read this book you will be very well prepared for the MRCS vivas. It is one of the best and most comprehensive available and I now recommend it to all our local senior house officers when they come to teaching sessions. If I were taking the MRCS examination, I would base my revision around this book and the potential viva questions that I might be asked.