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May 17, 1976

Surgery of the Biliary Tract

Author Affiliations

University of Colorado Medical Center Denver


by Bjorn Thorbjarnarson (Major Problems in Clinical Surgery, vol 16), 166 pp, with illus, $13, Canada $13.80, Philadelphia, Saunders, 1975.

JAMA. 1976;235(20):2243-2244. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260460055032

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Surgeons in the United States remove over 300,000 gallbladders yearly and, according to the author, injure at least 1,000 common bile ducts while performing these procedures. In terms of numbers alone, a volume on biliary tract surgery should arouse our interest.

But despite much practical information, this book lacks depth at some points of greatest current interest. For example, the author "prefers to reoperate on the patient..." (with retained common bile duct stones). He fails to cite Burhenne's outstanding success in extracting retained stones from 95 of 100 patients—without anesthesia or premedication. Featuring a modified Dormia basket, this technique, which has been adopted by many other radiologists, promises to save many operations and lives among the 5,000 patients yearly who suffer from overlooked stones. The preface, but not the title, tells us that this is an "adults only" book, so the reader who races into the text after noting only