One of a few ‘concise’ plastic surgery texts, this recently revised second edition includes over 1300 pages of well written, illustrated and referenced text in 102 core chapters including 13 new chapters covering such topics as perforator flaps, facial and hand transplantation, immunology, surgical management of migraines, and lymphoedema. This text is therefore highly comprehensive whilst being clearly laid out, very readable and up-to-date.

As with the first edition, this one draws on the knowledge of dozens of experienced contributors, mostly from the USA. Whilst experts in any particular subspecialty will be able to find omissions or inaccuracies, the book nonetheless admirably achieves its purpose of delivering a concise yet comprehensive and portable text for plastic surgeons.

The bullet point style and pocket size that made the first edition so successful are maintained whilst the references have been updated and in many instances the illustrations, tables and charts improved significantly. An electronic version is included with all hardcopies for access via computer, tablets or smartphones.

This book will largely appeal to specialty trainees and students, especially those approaching their FRCS(Plast) exams, but there is sufficient detail throughout to make it a useful reference for all practising plastic surgeons.

Natural competition is found in the Oxford Handbook of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (Giele and Cassell, 2008) and the different styles will appeal to different people. Nevertheless, it’s probably fair to say that ‘Essentials’ is more comprehensive and of course up-to-date at this time.

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Patrick Addison

St John's Hospital, Livingston, UK.

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