A Very Short Textbook of Surgery

Bernard Sigel, MD
JAMA. 1990;263(3):462. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440030151045.
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A Very Short Textbook of Surgery focuses on surgical problems and is intended for medical students. It is organized into 25 chapters (in 77 packed text pages) and includes commonly presented topics such as "Headache and Pain in the Face," "Mouth Ulcers and Swellings," and "Swellings in the Neck."

The format is that of an annotated differential diagnosis with a brief comment on either further evaluation or treatment. The basic aspects of disease processes, operative techniques, and preoperative and postoperative care are not considered.

Although the range of topics is wide, the references to diagnostic and therapeutic procedures are incomplete and frequently unexplained. A glossary of common terms would have been helpful.

I am not sure how a medical student reading this book might be helped except to develop a list of differential diagnoses from complaints. In addition, I feel that tables, illustrations, and references would have improved the presentation


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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