Fundamental Techniques of Plastic Surgery, and Their Surgical Applications, 10th Edition. By Alan D. McGregor and Ian A. McGregor. Pp. 224. Churchill Livingstone, London, United Kingdom, 2000. Price: £54.99 ($95).
As a plastic surgery program director, I am continually engaged in attempting to locate a concise review of our specialty for rotating medical students or residents, plastic surgeons in training, or attending surgeons reviewing for recertification examinations. I was immediately confident that I had achieved my objective when I received this book, now in its 10th edition. My impression was maintained by one of the authors’ assertion of his “belief that this approach fosters uniformity of style and opinion.” While this has some validity, it also overlooks the authority imparted in a multi-author book, which has the benefit of deriving knowledge from the expertise of various colleagues who can impart their considerable experience on a variety of topics. This is the format of many of the competing review books in this category. I was also dismayed to read in the introduction, “facial orthopedics trauma has, in most centers, passed into the hands of the oral and maxillofacial surgeons.” This topic would be omitted in this edition. Plastic surgeons have contributed and continue to contribute significantly to this field. In fact, many plastic surgeons still manage these patients, and as a program director, I depend on these patients to provide our residents with a significant portion of their clinical experience. Again, this is an important omission when evaluating this book alongside similar books in this group.
Basically the book is divided into two parts. Part 1, Basic Techniques, focuses on elementary topics: wound management, Z-plasty, free skin grafts, flaps, and additional techniques. The chapters are rather inconsistent, with the middle three, especially the one on flaps, being the best and serving as excellent sources for review of these topics. The remaining two chapters are rather elementary and would be appropriate for either medical students or first-year residents rotating on a plastic surgery service.
Part 2, Surgical Applications, incorporates chapters on hypertrophic scars, radiation injuries, pressure sore management, limb trauma, neoplastic conditions, and hand injuries. The latter chapter is the most sophisticated, providing an excellent basic review of management principles. The other chapters, for the most part, address the level of the medical student or rotating general surgery resident.
In summary, this book is a practical, well-written fundamental textbook for either the medical student or general surgery resident rotating on a plastic surgery service. It is probably too elementary to replace many of the other textbooks available for the plastic surgery resident or practitioner who is reviewing for his inservice, board, or recertification examinations. Every plastic surgery program director should consider recommending this book to medical students and general surgery residents and perhaps purchasing it for placement in the division library.