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Edited by Fielding JWL, Hallisey MT, Lumley J. Published by Springer, Berlin, 2005, £115.50 (hardback), pp 396. ISBN 1852336072
In the rapidly developing field of upper gastrointestinal surgery, there is often a need for access to short synopses of areas of development without the need to resort on every occasion to a literature search or standard text. This concise book brings together a selection of internationally acknowledged experts to provide such a text. The areas covered provide a rapid review of topics which would be of particular interest to specialist registrars and also, to a certain extent, for consultants in the field.
The challenges for the editors of such a series are not inconsiderable. The formula used is to present the anatomy and physiology of the oesophagus, stomach, small bowel and spleen, and then go on to summarise the main features of benign, high risk and malignant disease of those organs. The role and current status of radical surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy of these tumours are also summarised. In addition, there are dedicated chapters on the epidemiology of the cancer of the gastro‐oesophageal junction, stromal tumours, lymphomas, endoscopy and imaging. Health Promotion Board topics have been deliberately excluded.
The simple layout and clear presentation make it easy to read and offer a quick source of reference. The text will ensure a safe level of basic knowledge for the specialist trainee, but it is beyond the scope of such a book to provide the deeper knowledge required by the specialist in the field. Inevitably, there is some overlap in the content of the different chapters and one must perhaps question the need for basic anatomy and physiology, bearing in mind the specialist audience for which it is intended. However, some areas often uncovered by other texts, including sections on the spleen, diaphragm and epidemiology, offer useful sources of information.
The illustrations, in particular of the radiology, are clear, but unfortunately cost constraints have limited the usefulness of endoscopic views, and illustrations of operative specimens in black and white are disappointing.
Furthermore, some spelling inconsistencies, in particular oesophagus (“oesophagus” and “esophagus”) should also have been harmonised, but inevitably reflects the international contributors.