Apley and Solomon's Concise System of Orthopaedics and Trauma

486 pp, richly illustrated and carefully thought out. A scratch-off panel reveals a code to give access to the e-book, which can be downloaded to various devices, offering a student a reference that can always be handy.

This text has moved a long way since Apley's original 1959 publication, and has been expanded to become a general orthopaedic text for medical students and other students of orthopaedics. The original (remembered fondly from my own student days) with its 'Look, Feel, Move' mantra focused on teaching students a systematic hands-on approach to orthopaedic evaluation, not relying heavily on special investigations.

The current edition incorporates the original Apley system, but it has been expanded to become a more general reference, richly illustrated with colour photographs, X-ray and other clinical images, and illustrations. It is divided into three parts - General Orthopaedics, Regional Orthopaedics and Fractures and Joint Injuries.

The first part - General Orthopaedics - is a quick run-through, not stopping long at any section but giving students a good idea of the width of the discipline. The first chapter covers general diagnostic principles in orthopaedics. The next three chapters run through inflammatory disorders - infections, inflammatory rheumatoid disorders, gout and pseudogout. Two short chapters follow on osteoarthritis and osteonecrosis, then fuller chapters on metabolic, endocrine and genetic disorders. Finally there are chapters on tumours, neurovascular disorders and peripheral nerve injuries. A nice little section on principles of operative treatment completes this first part. 

The second part - Regional Orthopaedics - walks through the body, region by region - shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, neck, back, hip, knee ankle and foot. History, examination and special investigations follow a system, with Apley's 'look, feel, move' clearly apparent in the sections on examination. The focus is very clearly on diagnosis, with management - surgical and rehabilitative - being only briefly touched upon for each disorder. This makes it an interesting and easy read for the student of orthopaedics, without the intellectual challenges of a more complex text, and without reference to the standard journal literature.

The third part - Fractures and Joint Injuries - begins with a good section on the management of major injuries. This helps the student to understand the context of many of the more severe bone breaks. The general principles of fractures and fracture treatment follow in two chapters, with a separate section on complications. All of these are very richly illustrated with clinical photographs, X-rays and illustrations.

In the same systematic vein as the rest of the text, the final eight chapters consider bone breaks region by region, again focusing more on evaluation but still touching on the clinical considerations of management.

All in all it is a wonderful little textbook, and a pleasure to recommend to students.