How do you decide the 50 most influential papers in plastic surgery? The breadth of subspecialties within plastic surgery makes this herculean task even harder. This book has attempted to collate each paper which has shaped and guided the practice of plastic surgeons for up to 100 years.

Charles Hultman has set out to curate a resource for trainees and established surgeons alike. Each of the 10 chapters is dedicated to a different facet of plastic surgery, from the aesthetic through head and neck cancer, breast reconstruction, and hand surgery, amongst others. Each subspecialty chapter looks at five different seminal papers. The Z plasty, the first description of a myocutaneous flap, the fibular flap, the toe to thumb, to name but a few.

Each paper is referenced and summarised using a common system which allows for quick interpretation. Key images from each original article are included, however, the real selling point to this book is the invited commentary by the paper’s original author. It’s fascinating to read their own critiques and reflections on each paper, at times some of the authors give an insight into the genesis and context of how the study came to fruition. As Sir Harold Gilles and some other authors are no longer around for reflection, Charles Hultman combines insightful and expert editorial commentary on each paper as well.

It is a very difficult task to pick a handful of papers from such a vast and varied body of work available to plastic surgery. I can think of one or two papers which might just missed out on the cut, however, I think the collating editor has done a fantastic job and has created a text which provides a valuable resource which gives context to our current understanding in plastic surgery. I wholeheartedly agree with the title of the book 50 Studies Every Plastic Surgeon Should Know and this is one book every plastic surgeon would benefit from reading.

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Edmund Fitzgerald O'Connor

St Andrews Centre for Plastic Surgery and Burns, Chelmsford, UK

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