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Book Review
October 1999

Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

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edited by Robbin G. Cohen, MD, Michael J. Mack, MD, James D. Fonger, MD, and Rodney J. Landreneau, MD, 359 pp, $245, ISBN 0-942219-79-1, St Louis, Mo, Quality Medical Publishing Inc, 1999.

Arch Surg. 1999;134(10):1155. doi:

Minimally invasive cardiac surgery remains an ill-defined, commonly discussed, but not yet universally practiced field. This book, written by pioneers in this growing field, covers all aspects of minimally invasive cardiac surgery. It is divided into 7 sections that are quite complete in their contents. These sections cover topics ranging from historical milestones to the newly developing robotic technology.

As expected, the subject matter tends to be very technical. Despite their concise nature, the chapters are quite informative. Pearls are found everywhere. The writing is easy to read and the message is lucid. Some chapters are full of exquisite details and are a delight to read. Chapter 2, entitled "The Evolution of Minimally Invasive Surgery," is outstanding. The "how I do it" approach to the writing leaves the reader unambiguous about the honesty of the message. It is, however, this same subjective writing that occasionally conveys a lack of credibility. The absence of factual data to support many claims leads to frequent speculation. Furthermore, to provide more than a single point of view, the editors allowed some topics to be covered in more than 1 chapter. Although the editors claim this method "provides depth to subject matter which can be approached in a number of different ways," it nevertheless annoys the reader with a repetitive barrage of information. It also leaves one sifting through much unnecessary information before stumbling on the pertinent details. Some of the chapters are too wordy, eg, "Anesthesia." Others need to be rewritten or eliminated, eg, the chapter entitled "Combined Catheter and Minimally Invasive Direct Coronary Artery Bypass Procedures: Hybrid Revascularization." The editors ought to be commended on the overall composition and the assembly of such work, yet encouraged not to allow melodramatization, such as on page 263 (chapter 27) that reads "the mutilation of sternotomy" or the use of coined terms such as "saphenologist" (page 155, chapter 14) to refer to the individual harvesting the saphenous vein.

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