This book is a practical guide for the surgeon or surgical trainee about to perform or assist at an operation. The procedures described are those commonly carried out in general, urological, and orthopaedic surgical practice with an introduction on perioperative management and anaesthetics. These should also prove of interest to operating department nurses, assistants, and students of medicine. Indications for and complications of procedures are given but more extensive descriptions of these can be found in surgical text books to which the reader should refer. We emphasize that the book is not for the first-time operator nor does it embrace the philosophy of ‘see one, do one, teach one’. Anyone aspiring to be a surgeon must acquire the basic skills of safe knot-tying and familiarity with surgical instruments.
Only by witnessing, assisting at, and then performing many procedures within the structure of a formal surgical training course can the trainee develop the skill, judgement, and the ability to select patients correctly—the recipe for safe surgery. The text and increased numbers of contributors reflect the changes that have occurred in General Surgery over the past ten years. It is unlikely that in the future we will encounter General Surgical Units. They will be replaced by specialised departments catering for specific areas of surgical expertise. These changes will also fashion future editions of this text in that almost every chapter will become a handbook in itself and the training of surgeons become significantly changed.