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MasterCases in Hand and Wrist Surgery

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Textbook surgical education usually follows a predictable format involving fairly in-depth descriptions of various pathologic conditions including etiology, pathophysiology, symptomatology, diagnostic procedures, conservative management, and surgical treatment. Although there is variation in the emphasis different books place on each of these areas, the reader is obliged to absorb a plethora of information and add it to his or her knowledge base by rote retention. Trying to assimilate large amounts of clinically relevant information from these texts is confusing and difficult for all of us who are not blessed with photographic memories.

In the MasterCases text Hand and Wrist Surgery, Kevin Plancher and his superb authors are to congratulated for breaking the mold and providing an amazingly comprehensive series of concise discussions of 90 different clinical conditions affecting the hand and wrist. Each begins with a short history and clinical presentation of a clinical case that will be used to guide the diagnostic and treatment sequence that will be used to illustrate the management of a specific condition. The authors then proceed with the physical examination, diagnostic studies, differential diagnoses, diagnosis, nonsurgical management, and surgical treatment with clear, thorough and well illustrated descriptions of the technique that they favor. Alternative treatment methods are included as are post-operative management and possible complications. Helpful “pearls” and “pitfalls” are included in the margin of each case. All case discussions are concise and relevant without superfluous and confusing verbage.

The educational impact of this unique approach is considerable. With the clinical case in mind, the reader can easily follow the ensuing sequence of diagnostic and treatment considerations as if it were a patient under their own care. Unquestionably, the overall appreciation of that particular condition and the cerebral retention of important clinical information will be greater using this “user friendly” format. Dr. Plancher’s simplified format makes the learning pleasurable and enhances one’s ability to study many different conditions at one setting without confusing material between different conditions as is so easily done in more conventional surgical books.

Kevin Plancher and his excellent complement of authors are to be congratulated for providing a superb text that will serve as examination preparation equally well.

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