Recommended General Surgery Books for medical students

I. Good reference and reading book, recommended for junior students:

1) Essentials of General Surgery, by Peter Lawrence: This book provides a synopsis for junior medical students on surgical clerkship. It covers all major topics in surgery and, overall, it is considered a good book to read from cover to cover (approximately 400 pages). It includes a glossary and some chapters discuss major advances in the field. $39.00. 

2) Current Surgical Diagnosis and Treatment, by Lawrence W. Way: This is an excellent book, currently on its 11th edition (1996). It was originated at the University of California, San Francisco, with more than 85 contributors. It focuses on all diseases managed by surgeons and it is an outstanding reference for junior & senior medical students, residents, and practitioners. It is more difficult to read from cover to cover (approx. 700 pages) but it provides a more in depth review of subjects, covering many aspects frequently asked on board part I & II exams. Highly recommended. $42.00.

3) General Surgery, by Ritchie P. Wallace: From Temple University, this is a book that concentrates on the clinical presentation, diagnostic studies, and common surgical procedures. It is concise, two-color textbook for medical students that addresses the essential clinical conditions treated by general surgeons. Approx. 970 pages. $154.00.

4) The Student’s Textbook of Surgery, by William M. Rambo From the Medical University of South Carolina, this book was written with the junior medical student in mind. With only 350 pages, it covers all the essentials of general surgery, easy to read and understand. Highly recommended as an introduction to surgery. $40.00.

5) Essential Surgery: Problems, Diagnosis, and Management, by George H Burkitt: Concise surgery synopsis for medical students. Approx. 740 pages. Uses a problem-based approach. Includes outlines of major procedures, discussion of minimally invasive surgery. $49.95.

6) Basic Surgery, by Hiram C Polk, Jr.: From the Univ. of Louisville. An introductory text for medical students on the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and postoperative care of the surgical patient. New topics include managed care and indications for referral. 89 contributors. Approx. 1,000 pages. $48.00.

II. Good reference and reading book, recommended for junior students that are seriously interested in a surgical career:

1) Principles of Surgery (Single or Two volume set), by Seymour I. Schwartz: On its 25th anniversary edition of a major textbook/reference book for medical students, residents, and practitioners. Approximately 2,000 pages. Incorporates minimally invasive procedures. Originated from the University of Rochester with more than 90 contributors. This book is a must for anyone seriously committed to a surgical career. Despite its size, it is pleasant to read. It should be used for a more in depth coverage of surgical diseases. $125.00.

2) Textbook of Surgery: Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice, by Sabiston: Originated at Duke University, on its 15th edition (1996). As with the textbook by Schwartz, it is also considered an outstanding textbook/reference for medical students, residents, and practitioners. Approximately 2,000 pages. Provides an in-depth coverage of all surgical topics. Indispensable for the library of anyone committed to a career in surgery. $110.00.

3) Surgery: A Problem-Solving Approach (Two-volume set with Gamelli question & answer review of surgery package), by John H. Davis: From the University of Vermont. Scholarly two-volume reference for surgeons, residents, and students on the basic science and clinical aspects of surgery. 90 contributors. 2,712 pages. Includes exam review package. $145.00.

4) Fundamentals of Surgery, by John E. Niederhuber: This is a new book originated from the faculty members at Stanford University (First edition: 1998). It covers all the main subjects in general surgery and specialties, including basic principles and procedures (excellent background about laparoscopic surgery). The text is easy to read and the book has several diagrams that illustrate the anatomy and different surgical techniques. It covers all major topics and provides a list of “key facts” at the beginning of each chapter (which outlines important information that the student must know on that topic). This is an excellent text for anyone doing his core rotation in surgery and for junior surgical residents. Highly recommended.

III. Reference and reading book recommended for students seeking additional knowledge in surgery:

1) Current Surgical Therapy, by John L Cameron: A major reference for residents and practicing surgeons. Concise reviews of surgical management of various clinical conditions with good analysis of controversial points. Easy to read. Used primarily by surgeons to prepare for the American Board of Surgery examination. Approx. 1,100 pages. $145.00.

2) Handbook of Surgery, by Theodore R Schrock: A thick, pocket-sized handbook for medical students and residents on general and specialty surgery. Outline format. $30.00.

3) Surgical Critical Care, by Joseph A. Moylan: From the University of Miami, with more than 65 contributors, this book is for senior students, residents, and practitioners interested on the surgical aspects of critical care. It also covers special patient groups such as transplantation, cardiac, and pediatric surgery. Approx. 1,000 pages. $135.00.

4) Manual of Surgical Therapeutics, by Robert E. Condon: From the Medical College of Wisconsin, this spiral medical series book has 439 pages that focus on the nonoperative management of surgical patients, for residents and medical students. Outline format. $35.00.

5) Mont Reid Surgical Handbook, by Theodore C Koutlas: A quick reference pocket guide for surgical residents and medical students. Outline format. 715 pages. $34.00.

6) Surgery on Call, by Leonard G Gomella: From Thomas Jefferson University. A quick-reference pocket guide to problems, diagnosis, and treatment plans, for residents and medical students. Outline format. 536 pages. $22.00.

IV. Pre-test or review books:

1) Surgery: Review for the New National Boards, by Glenn W Geelhoed: From George Washington University. First edition in 1995. Review for medical students preparing for the National Board Part II Exam. Multiple-choice questions with answers and tutorials. 246 pages. $25.00.

2) Study of Surgery: Comprehensive Clinical Tutorials in Problem-Solving for Anatomic and Specialty Fields of General Surgery, by Glenn W Geelhoed: Surgery review consisting of 1,060 multiple-choice questions with answers and explanations, for medical students preparing for board exams. Color and halftone photographs. 392 pages. $40.00.

3) Surgical Secrets, by Charles Abernathy: Handbook of questions with answers on surgery which medical students are likely to be asked on surgical rounds. Includes a brief line drawing atlas section depicting basic surgical techniques. $35.00.

4) Surgical Recall, by Lorne Blackbourne: Surgery review in a self-study, question-and-answer format, for medical students. $27.00.

5) NMS Surgery, by Bruce E. Jarrell: From the National Medical Series for Independent Study. Third edition of a surgery review in outline format, for medical students preparing for board exams. Includes multiple-choice questions with answers and explanations. Due to the very concise outline format this book may be more difficult to read & assimilate. It should not be used as the sole source of reading during a junior clerkship. Good for review of topics. 647 pages. $28.00.

6) Surgery, by Thomas K King: Pretest self-assessment and review series. Current edition of a 500-item multiple choice question-and-answer review, for medical students. $18.00.

7) Surgery: A USMLE Step 2 Review: 700 Questions and Answers, by Jonathan L Meakins: Review for medical students preparing for the USMLE part 2 exam. Consists of 700 multiple choice questions with answers. 317 pages. $17.00.

8) Principles of Surgery: Pretest Self-Assessment and Review, by Seymour I. Schwartz: A good pretest review book that complements the textbook. Used by medical students and surgical residents to prepare for the board examinations. Keyed to the author’s text of the same title. Approx. 220 pages. $40.00.

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