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Hip Surgery: an Odyssey

Augusto Sarimiento pp. 421 India: JP Medical Publishers, 2012 ISBN: 978-93-5025-360-1

Hip Surgery: An Odyssey is a grand title for a book, and one few would use to describe their thoughts and ideas at the end of a surgical career, but Professor Sarmiento probably has every right to do so. The book provides an interesting insight into the development of arthroplasty surgery and hip trauma surgery during his career, with mention of correspondence with some of the great names in orthopaedics. For British readers, the discussions with Sir John Charnley, with whom he had a close relationship, may be of interest. Sarmiento cites his fellowship in England with Charnley as a key point in his career, leading him to focus on hip surgery for the next 35 years.

The text covers a large range of topics although there is a clear bias towards certain subjects. Chapters on the Charnley Hip and the use of the Sarmiento osteotomy are thorough. There are numerous radiological images, with text kept to a minimum. Newer techniques and treatments however, often receive short shrift, with barely a page of text reserved for chapters on hip impingement and the acetabular labrum.

The style of writing is informal, and the book deliberately aims to be a collection of thoughts, experiences and opinions rather than a scientific document that is well referenced detailing best practice or gold standard treatments in hip surgery. Sarmiento makes no apologies for this, and chooses to quote only his own literature to support his thoughts and statements. The fact that several topics and discussions are now relevant for historical purposes again is justified in the preface.

I would not recommend this text to trainees as a source of material to quote in trauma meetings or examinations, nor as an update into best practice in hip surgery. It may at times make advocates of evidence-based medicine wrinkle their nose, but there are many wise thoughts on orthopaedic practice. The insight that new techniques and theories will eventually be replaced by newer ideas is a poignant one made by a surgeon who has seen it happen many times before. In summary, this book is the equivalent of an informal coffee room chat with a legendary orthopaedic surgeon; a chance to listen to his opinions and ideas.

M. Williams

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