June 14, 1985

Mastery of Surgery

Author Affiliations

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center Newark, NJ


2 vol, edited by Lloyd M. Nyhus and Robert J. Baker, 1,540+ pp, with illus, $195, Boston, Little Brown & Co, 1984.

JAMA. 1985;253(22):3323. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350460125040

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Surgical technique is learned in two ways. The first is intimate and direct. We learn one-on-one from a handful of practitioners, some famous and some unknown, some skilled and some clumsy, some clear thinkers and some muddy. The second is impersonal; we read atlases and journal articles. In a massive two-volume edition, Mastery of Surgery, Professors Nyhus and Baker have tried to combine the two methods by introducing us to almost 250 internationally known surgeons, who tell us in an informal but informative manner how to perform surgery their way.

This book is different from the usual atlas. Each surgeon has written a text to accompany his illustrations, which includes preoperative preparation, indications, detailed descriptions, and postoperative results. More important, these chapters contain hints, tips, personal opinions, and alternative viewpoints, often presented in conversational fashion. Each chapter ends with a list of suggested reading, but the text has no citations;