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Edited by Gregory G Ginsberg, Michael L Kochman, Ian Norton, Christopher J Gostout. London: Elsevier Saunders, 2005, £146.00 (hardcover), pp 874 plus CD Rom. ISBN 07216-0282-7
The field of gastrointestinal endoscopy is one of continuous evolution. This is influenced by advances and developments in endoscopic equipment and techniques and also the need to integrate endoscopic practice into other evolving technologies(such as cross‐sectional imaging and capsule endoscopy). The past few years have seen a laudable emphasis upon the development of high‐quality endoscopic practice and training programmes to provide this. Established endoscopists and trainees keep abreast of modern practice by means ranging from interaction with local colleagues to national and international meetings. Single‐topic seminars abound. Endoscopy is covered in a number of specialised journals and in the wider gastrointestinal and hepatological publications. In such a rapidly evolving field is there still room for a major textbook?
Clinical Gastrointestinal Endoscopy is such a textbook and was clearly a major undertaking for the four editors, who have included no fewer than 90 authors in the 57 multiauthor chapters. The delay from inception to publication must risk the book being outdated, but this risk seems to have been one well worth taking.
The coverage of the endoscopic field is comprehensive, with section one providing almost 150 pages dedicated to basic principles. These will prove invaluable for the endoscopist in training, and the chapter on post‐surgical anatomy should be mandatory reading for all endoscopists.
The next two sections provide the bulk of the text and are both lesional and problem based with a wealth of information on endoscopy practice and invaluable guidance on therapeutic techniques. The chapters are well set out with a strong emphasis upon the basic pathology and the indications of, and outcome from, management strategies. All are well referenced. The multiauthor format has resulted in a variable quality of presentation and inevitable repetition, which a stronger editorial approach might have helped to overcome. The standard of illustration is extremely high with only occasional lapses in the quality of endoscopic images. The accompanying DVD provides a number of valuable video vignettes, although not comprehensive and of variable quality.
Section four is directed towards future developments and, inevitably for a textbook, does not catch the current hot topics and would, if written today, wish to expand on normal orifice therapeutic techniques and perhaps the self‐propelled endoscopes.
Clinical Gastrointestinal Endoscopy is ambitious in its comprehensive approach to the field of endoscopy. Most of our updates now come from non‐textbook sources, but the quality of the material covered here should prompt all endoscopy units to consider whether this should be available as a reference book.
I would suggest very tight security to avoid its prompt disappearance!