Musculoskeletal Cancer Surgery: Treatment of Sarcomas and Allied Diseases


MM Malawer and PH Sugarbaker
Published by Kluwer (2001)
ISBN:  0-7923-6394-9.  608 pages plus index.
RRP:  US$199.00

This surgical text is a delight to the eye and difficult to put down. It is authored by two leading and well-established experts in this field with additional contributors from both the US and Israel.

There is a consistency of presentation throughout this text which is well laid out and certainly easy to read. The illustrations by Joyce Hurwitz are a highlight. The reproductions of both the imaging, and clinical and operative photographs, are also of the highest quality.

The first section covers the more routine fundamentals regarding sarcomas, and stresses particularly the increasing role of chemotherapy and radiation therapy in the management of these problems. It goes further however by discussing isolated limb perfusion (as opposed to limb infusion, more often practised in Australia) as well as an entire chapter devoted to the correct approach to the biopsy of these tumours. There is a very succinct and appropriate chapter on the surgical management of metastatic bone disease.

The majority of the book is then given over to various aspects of surgery, divided into three sections: muscle group resections, limb-sparing surgery and amputations. In each instance the various chapters are opened with an overview, reference to the unique anatomic considerations of the region or site, a discussion of the relevant preoperative imaging and then a set of surgical guidelines with discussion of the various surgical manoeuvres. The text is supported by, and indeed at times is secondary to, the beautiful illustrations and clinical photography used to highlight the author’s objectives. The information, particularly regarding the history, development, availability and applications of prostheses in this type of surgery, is certainly the most complete account that I have seen. This section also includes excellent chapters on phantom limb pain, anaesthetics and pain management for such large resection cases and also a discussion of the principles of rehabilitation without excessive detail.

This text is an excellent and perfect reference for any surgical department but in particular for those where oncology has a high profile. It would make excellent reading for any general or orthopaedic registrar and similarly would be an appropriate addition to the library of any individual orthopaedic surgeon or surgical oncologist.

D Speakman
Dept of Surgery
Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute
Melbourne, VIC

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