Best 5 surgery books for medical students

Surgery is a very rewarding specialty in medicine combining manual dexterity and deep understanding of advanced anatomy and physiology to ensure the best outcomes for patients. Getting started in surgery can be a daunting task for any medical student. A large number of people would have had exposure to surgery through flashy Hollywood shows depicting surgeons as superstar medics with almost divine-like lifesaving abilities. What these shows fail to remind the viewer is the rigorous studying that one must do to reach that level of confidence or in some cases arrogance.

To get a leg up on the competition, it pays to have the right resources. There is no one book that can be said to be the end all and be all, but a combination is always advisable. This list reflects the books that I found most useful in my studies. This list is by no means exhaustive but is aimed at pointing you in the right direction in you early reading in surgery. As one advances, the literature requirements become more specialized and enhanced but it is always good to have a firm foundation laid by some of the books listed below.

  1. Schwartz’s Principles Of Surgery

This instantly recognizable book has been a staple in the library of many a medical school. It is large book that can be considered a reference book especially that it now has two volumes. The content is exhaustive and makes a very good book for an aspiring surgeon to base their foundational knowledge on. Covering basic anatomy, basic surgical techniques and advanced surgical topics, this book is quite comprehensive, and a must read. One other great feature of the book are the sheer number of photographs and line drawings that enhance the reading process. The book is widely available, but it can also be found at this affiliate link here Schwartz’s Principles Of Surgery.

  1. Bailey & Love’s Short Practice of Surgery

One of my favorites and it is a book I could read from cover to cover because of how well written it was. It did not feel like I was reading a textbook and the hours would just disappear when I would read this book. It is by no means a small book with its over 1000 pages, but it is user friendly even for the internist who would like to sneak a peak at what the surgeons are up to. It even comes with a companion book with an assortment of clinical problems that can be used to assess yourself as you go through the book This book has been recommended by several international renowned doctors and is a staple in the libraries of many a university. Get yourself a copy, even if you are not into surgery.

  1. The Washington Manual of Surgery

In essential reading for the astute surgeon, this book was tailored made for individuals that wanted a broad overview of surgery. It is provided in a concise format focusing on high yield topics in away that medical students would find very useful especially when preparing for assessments. The book’s authors pride themselves on ensuring as much essential information is available for medical students and residents as well. There are also chapters highlighting newer advances in surgery.

  1. Browse’s Introduction to the Symptoms & Signs of Surgical Disease

One of the first things I learnt about medicine is that it is an art. This book is simply a masterpiece. It teaches the art of medicine from a surgeons point of view. All surgeons need to start from somewhere and this book is an introductory guide to the essential signs, symptoms and disorders of surgery that must be mastered. It delivers its material in a very concise format  with several pictures that stimulates the reader take notice and be able to recognize them on the ward. It also teaches physical examination techniques in a very clear and easy to follow manner.

  1. SRB’s Manual of Surgery

This “little” book coming from India is really amazing at providing high yield surgery in a very simple and pragmatic way. It provides comprehensive information on a variety of topics in surgery and presented in a way in which it is easy to study from. This was one of the books I would constantly fall back on due to its shear attention to detail. It was like this book was literally made for people preparing for exams and my highlighter is witness to this.

There are several clinical photographs, illustrations and figures and key points for each condition are highlighted in boxes ensuring that topics are thoroughly explained and summarized in an easy to remember format.

Special mention

 of course, no list is complete without a few special mentions:

Surgery: A Case Based Clinical Review

Pocket Guide to the Operating Room

Surgical Recall