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Emergency abdominal surgery
  1. MICHAEL RHODES, Consultant Surgeon
  1. Norfolk and Norwich NHS Trust, Norwich, Norfolk, UK

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    Emergency abdominal surgery, 3rd edn, PF Jones, ZH Krukowski, GG Youngson, eds, xxii + 556, illus. Chapman and Hall Medical, 1998. £45, paperback. ISBN: 0 412 81950 3.★★★

    This is a useful handbook for any specialist registrar in general surgery. Indeed, with the reduction of on-call duties and duration of training, many registrars have much less experience of emergency surgery during their training, making such a book a valuable addition to the on-call room.

    The book covers abdominal emergencies under broad categories of gastrointestinal, urological, gynaecological, and vascular, and has clearly been updated to take account of the increasing use of laparoscopy in both diagnosis and treatment of the acute abdomen. That said, the use of laparoscopy in gastrointestinal haemorrhage, resection of gastric leiomyomas, division of adhesions and drainage of intra-abdominal sepsis is not mentioned in the book, perhaps an indication of its inherent conservatism.

    The layout too is fairly conservative, with large unbroken paragraphs of text, where perhaps a few tables, flow diagrams or bullet points might aid the reader in skimming the relevant chapter.

    The book is, however, likely to provide a valuable aid to many trainees and deserves to be added to most registrars' collections. It certainly provides sensible and practical approaches to all in intra-abdominal emergencies.