The Anesthesiologist’s Manual of Surgical Procedures, Third Edition.  Edited by Richard A. Jaffe and Stanley I. Samuels. Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004. ISBN: 0-7817-4332-X. Price: $129.00.

Question : Why publish a Third Edition of this book?

Answer : The rapidity of change in surgical care.

For those not familiar with the previous editions of this Manual , a few words are in order. Drs. Jaffe and Samuels have now edited three editions of a unique book. With the collaboration of their Anesthesiology and Surgery colleagues at Stanford, they have gathered into one volume a work that has several features. First is a diagram-rich, fact-filled summary of just about every surgical operation. Then comes an outline of a good anesthetic plan for each of those operations. Each section has a list of current references for further reading. There are additional teaching points and patient care tips sprinkled liberally throughout. It is organized into 15 chapters based on types of procedures. The style and quality are surprisingly even throughout the text; a tribute to the editors. However, I would not call it a “manual.” It will never fit in your lab coat pocket; it is a full-size, heavyweight reference book. But it is a reference book that provides quick and easy access to information and, dare I say, does not put me to sleep.

House Officers, this book is for you. Most of you did not enter anesthesiology via  surgical routes; here is the easy way to begin to understand what is happening on the other side of the drapes. In addition, if you read the anesthesia plans and some of the references before each case, you will take better care of your patients and impress your faculty.

Who else could benefit from this book? Faculty members should have it nearby for learning about new operations. Practitioners should reference it for the same reason. Anyone on call who needs quick information to set up for an unfamiliar type of case will want this book. I keep a copy in our Preop Evaluation Center for our colleagues from Internal Medicine who have not been in the operating room since medical school.

The Third Edition is bigger than the previous edition by approximately 150 pages, lists more operations, contains more material in the appendices, and is subtly, though not markedly improved. The Second Edition was not flawed; it was merely 5 yr old. This is the heart of the matter, though, reflecting rapid changes in surgery and surgical care. The Third Edition merits a spot on your bookshelf because of new material, such as the section on laparoscopic bariatric surgery, the expanded chapter on esthetic surgery, the additional material on Out-of-Operating Room Procedures, and new chapters on Office-Based Anesthesia and Emergency Procedures for the Anesthesiologist.

The appendices deserve mention because of their blend of old, revised, and new material. Appendix H still lists the acronyms and abbreviations used in the text, and I continue to find it helpful. Some of the revisions seem minor at first glance, but nevertheless, improve readability and quality, like the overhaul of the first Table in Appendix A on Diagnosis-Based Preop Testing, and the longer list of Herbal Agents that can cause drug interactions in Appendix F. More importantly, the addition of a new section in Appendix A on perioperative beta blockade is timely and reinforces that patient safety issue.

Question : Would I buy the 3rd Edition?

Answer : It’s already on my shelf.

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.