Comprehensive surgery textbooks are important references, but also, by necessity, often derivative and duplicative. There are only so many pages that can be compressed into even the most enormous book, and each such textbook attempts to fill its thousands of pages with the full range of the same broadly relevant topics. Hence it is necessary to own only one or two comprehensive texts.
Paradoxically, despite their heft, the heavy and imposing encyclopedic volumes that purport to cover all of dermatologic surgery are still not long enough to address every topic in detail. To stay of a size that can be handled, they must summarize and sift.
This means that there remains a role for specialized texts that address only a single topic in cutaneous surgery. Unitary focus allows such books to be constructed in such a way to be maximally useful. They are relatively short, clearly organized, and proud of their depth rather than their width. Needless to say, even among such specialized slim books, some address more useful topics, and some are better written.
The book you are holding is among the best—well written, well organized, extremely complete, and overall indispensable. Why indispensable? Well, this book is unusual and unusually valuable in that collates and conveys a type of practical information, all the many ways in which skin can be sutured, that is not available in any other single reference. Kantor has done careful detective work to uncover every suture technique and variant buried in a research paper, chapter, unpublished manuscript, poster, or presentation. Then, instead of just copying and pasting with minimal paraphrasing, he has gleaned the essential elements of each technique, illustrated the associated hand motions with clear and consistently drawn diagrams, and served up readable morsels in an extremely digestible format.
Unlike some other specialized textbooks, this is for beginners and experts alike. No matter how exalted the expert, it is unlikely that they know every technique described herein, and more or less inconceivable that they use each such method routinely. For the beginner, there is an abundant landscape to explore, and choices to be made.
Given the outstanding editor and author that he is, Kantor has not rested, but instead has produced a yet more complete second edition. New techniques have been added, and previously included methods have been updated with the latest findings.
Suturing is probably the single most important skill in the dermatologic surgeon’s toolkit. It is certainly what allows us to restore structure and function, to patients’ delight and relief. This important book tells us all we need to know. With it, we can be maximally versatile and prepared, benefit from the collective experience of many others, and be guided to select the suture techniques best suited for each patient and clinical circumstance.
Murad Alam, MD, MBA, MSCI Chicago, July 2021 Professor or Dermatology, Medical Social Sciences, and Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine