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Rockwood and Green's Fractures in Adults (7th ed.), and Rockwood and Wilkin's Fractures in Children (7th ed.)

Rockwood and Green's Fractures in Adults (7th ed, 2 volumes) Edited by Robert W. Buchholz, Charles M. Court-Brown, James D. Heckman, Paul Tornet pp. 2174 Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2010 ISBN: 978-1609-1301-69   /   Rockwood and Wilkins' Fractures in Children (7th ed) Edited by James H. Beaty and James R. Kasser pp. 1057 Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2010 ISBN: 978-1609-1301-69

They say it is difficult to put a good book down. In the case of this magnum opus (such is the weight of its three volumes, running to more than 3000 pages) it was difficult to pick it up! However, once into its pages, it was a hugely pleasurable read.

The seventh edition of this classic textbook has more than achieved the ambition of its many editors and authors to educate comprehensively in a 'user-friendly' way. The illustrations, graphics and formatting are outstanding and each volume has an individual code for on-line access to fully selectable text, image banks and videos. Throughout the work, the editors have managed to bring together the whole of fracture care in a harmonious and readable way. Throughout this review, I tested the book on problems I have encountered over the years. I was never disappointed in the solutions offered and once satisfied in that respect, took time to read chapters on either side. Once again they never let me down.

The first two volumes deal with fractures in adults, with the first 700 pages providing comprehensive coverage of generic aspects of fracture care. As well as the obvious chapters on biomechanics, classification, fracture healing, deformity correction and limb reconstruction, there were, among others, useful up-to-date contributions on specifics such as gunshot and wartime injuries. Thereafter come the fractures and dislocations according to anatomical site. Between the generic and regional chapters the technical details of open and closed treatments are well presented and, in the adult volumes, are beefed up by videos. Where available, these are clear and helpful but are restricted to surgical approaches. The authors throughout have generally presented their chapters in a balanced way with each being allowed a section on "author's preferred treatment", and thoughtfully the quality of outcomes is addressed. However, I thought there was an overemphasis on metalwork in the preferred treatment of metacarpal and phalangeal fractures.

The volume on Fractures in Children, although under different editorship, maintains the style and quality of the adult work. One has to register separately for the children's book which therefore allows it to be bought separately. On exploring the chapters, once again I was given reasonable solutions to every scenario that occurred to me. In the generic section, I was particularly impressed with the chapters on pain relief, pathological fractures and child abuse. The regional chapters are uniformly excellent and I was also impressed with the on-line search facility which enables one to go directly to an answer.

The authors are naughty in advertising that the videos are included. They are not, and on enquiry we are told that they are 'coming soon'. In the process I had difficulty getting registered 'on-line'. I needed to contact the helpline but was then dealt with in a friendly and satisfactory way from Baltimore. Once installed, the full text and image banks displayed beautifully; but I foresee that the image banks may not be used because one can easily blow up the images from the text. Unfortunately, it is not possible to download the text to an e-reader, so the choice is to carry the books around or view it on-line.

I have recently had access to some new textbooks of the highest quality, and this latest Rockwood, Green and Wilkins is up there with the best. I congratulate the editors, authors and all the back-room staff on their Herculean efforts in putting it all together. I strongly recommend that every trauma unit has a copy as the work is likely to be a benchmark for years to come.

D. Jones

Click here to view Fractures in Adults on the publisher's website 

Click here to view Fractures in Children on the publisher's website