This is the last of this six-volume textbook, which provides an almost comprehensive coverage of the entire spectrum of hand and upper limb conditions. This remains a formidable task, as evidenced by other more extensive hand surgery textbooks that are usually of multiple volumes. It is now a single volume replacing the two-volume set of the last edition.
Although the focus appears to be aimed more towards plastic than orthopaedic surgeons, this divide is again arbitrary and difficult to define, as hand surgery remains an interface specialty with many closely overlapping interests. Still, the effort to make it a more plastics-orientated text is commendable. The volume is divided into six sections. The first chapter in the first section sets the precedent with descriptions of the contributions of plastic surgeons to hand surgery. The second section focuses on traumatic disorders; the segments discussing the wrist and other more ‘orthopaedic’ type injuries are succinct and well written, providing a very good overview for the plastic surgical trainee. The ‘plastic surgery’ type chapters that focus more on microsurgical reconstruction are again extremely well written and presented.
The third section focuses on non-traumatic hand and wrist disorders including occupational hand disorders and ischaemia of the hand, which were not present in the last edition and reflect the excellent efforts by the editors to provide up-to-date information.
The fourth section focuses on congenital hand disorders. The editors have proportioned the different chapters according to incidence of the anomaly and present challenges, rather than simply dividing the chapters according to the International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand (IFSSH) classification. For example, thumb hypoplasia is a separate chapter and appropriately so.
The fifth section covers paralytic disorders. Again, a separate chapter on nerve transfers demonstrates the author’s efforts to keep up-to-date with the most important developments.
The final section is on rehabilitation and curiously includes a section on composite allotransplantation. Overall, this is a very useful hand surgery textbook that can easily stand alone, and apart from the other volumes. However, it is not detailed enough for the sub-specialist hand surgeon who wishes to explore more orthopaedic aspects and gain a more comprehensive understanding of surgical technique.