The fourth edition of Swenson's Pediatric Surgery, edited by John G. Raffensperger, is a refreshing new book covering the basic subjects of general pediatric surgery from a new perspective. Raffensperger states: "The pediatric surgeon must be more than a skilled and delicate technician," and sets out "[to] emphasize a problem oriented approach which attempts to reflect the actual presentation of a pediatric patient." These introductory statements summarize the editor's intent, which is successfully carried out throughout the 950 pages.
The first three sections are devoted to assessment and general considerations, common pediatric surgical problems, and trauma, while the remaining 13 sections deal with more specific subjects, including tumors, the important congenital malformations, and acquired surgically treatable conditions of infancy and childhood. The editor prepares the reader for what is about to come by highlighting "dangerous pitfalls" and even sharing some of his own doubts about the correct course of action.