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One of the requirements of becoming a successful surgeon is the development and maintenance of a broad and encyclopedic fund of knowledge. This is first accomplished during general surgery residency with a systematic and thorough study of the classic textbooks and a complete review of the current literature. This process does not end with the completion of residency and fellowship, as the more important step is to maintain this knowledge base with disciplined and systematic self-education throughout the entirety of a surgeon's career.

The American Board of Surgery's written and oral board examinations serve as a test of the newly trained surgeon's knowledge base. The recertification examination functions as a test of the level and quality of self-education that the seasoned surgeon has pursued throughout his career.

The concept for this manuscript began several years ago and was spurred by the lack of any review text that was comprehensive in nature. Our goal, from the onset, was to provide an all-inclusive source for review of the broad expanse of general surgery. This meant that every topic that could be tested during the ABS certification examinations would be reviewed during the course of the book. We chose the format of the text to be a palatable “question and answer” layout with information taken from gold standard surgery textbooks, complemented with recent literature from the leading journals in the field.

We are quite pleased with the final product. Each chapter has been carefully designed to cover all of the topics encountered in each given field. The comments following each answer provide a succinct appraisal of each topic. The information emphasizes the clinical science most commonly seen on licensure examinations, but also contains basic science, including physiology, anatomy, and pathology. The authors for each chapter were carefully chosen and include surgeons with extensive expertise and academic interests in their fields. The publishing team at McGraw-Hill was gracious enough to allow us the abundant use of illustrations. As such, each chapter is filled with radiographs, gross pathology pictures, histology slides, anatomy and physiology diagrams, algorithms, and countless tables and charts.

In all, we were impressed with the caliber of work each author contributed to this first edition. It cannot be emphasized enough that this review is not a replacement for the study of fundamental general surgery textbooks and journals in building a fund of knowledge. Instead, we present this text as a valuable resource for senior surgical residents and young surgeons preparing for their licensure examinations as well as for the seasoned practitioner wishing to periodically review the field of general surgery.

Good luck.
Amit D. Tevar, MD

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