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Postgraduate surgery: the candidate's guide, 2nd edn,
  1. S A WHITE,
  1. Department of Surgery, Leicester General Hospital, Leicester, UK

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    Postgraduate surgery: the candidate's guide, 2nd edn, Mar Al-Fallouji, pp 665, illus. Butterworth Heinemann, 1998. £75.00, hardback

    This textbook is intended primarily as a revision aid for surgeons preparing for the MRCS/ FRCS exams. This book is already very popular with trainee surgeons because of its short notes and factual content on most of the key points in various core specialties of surgery. This makes it rather heavy going, as the author has attempted to cover most aspects of surgery, a task which is impossible for a book of this size.

    In comparison to the 1st edition some important sections have been updated (eg, those on shock, radiotherapy/chemotherapy, andHelicobacter pylori) or added (eg, acid-base balance, laparoscopic and day case surgery, transplantation, HIV, and surgical audit). The new section on the shape of surgical training is useful for trainees but the time and space reserved for the section on nuclear warfare and Gulf war syndrome would have been better applied to improving the poorer sections, eg, those on surgery for gastro-oesophageal reflux (no mention of laparoscopic Nissens), oesophageal cancer, and peripheral vascular disease. Some sections are particularly useful, eg, elective and emergency surgical operations and the examples of clinical short cases. Unfortunately, some of the diagrams are very basic, particularly for the clinical scenarios and physical signs; original photographs would have been appreciated.

    Towards the end of the book the author has provided a somewhat biased and outdated reading list. Most of the important clinical trials that candidates are now asked about in postgraduate exams are distinctly lacking. In summary, this book serves as a useful revision aid and purchasers will not be disappointed if they wish to brush up their knowledge a month before their exams. The author deserves some credit for attempting the onerous task of writing a single book for the MRCS/FRCS exams, especially as it is aimed at a market where there are a number of more weighty rival volumes.