Manual of Small Animal Soft Tissue Surgery - by Karen M. Tobias


  • Rachel Hattersley

Manual of Small Animal Soft Tissue Surgery, Karen M. Tobias, Published by Wiley-Blackwell, 2009, hardback, 492 pages, Price £59.95, ISBN: 9780813800899

This book provides an illustrated technical guide to practical soft tissue surgery for veterinary practitioners with a range of surgical skills from recent graduates to more experienced practitioners. Karen Tobias has accomplished her mission with finesse in the production of a book which addresses a wide range of procedures whilst not oversimplifying some of the more involved procedures. Although written by an American author, the book is also highly relevant to practitioners in the United Kingdom. As a reference text for new graduates, it provides clear guidelines for common first opinion surgical procedures such as ovariohysterectomy with clear relevant anatomical photography. It would also be suitable for surgeons who would like a reference guide which could be consulted prior to performing a procedure to provide a concise refreshment of the details of the procedure. The book is split in to eight sections comprising of individual surgical procedures within specific body systems e.g. surgery of the urogenital tract includes cystotomy, urethrostomy and renal biopsy procedures. The difficulty level of these procedures ranges from routine surgical procedures e.g. ovariohysterectomy to more complex procedures such as perineal hernia repair.

Each section is prefaced by an introductory paragraph which briefly discusses stabilisation, pre-operative planning and possible indications for the procedures in general although detailed indications for individual techniques are not discussed. In addition, discussion of the correct diagnostic protocol required to reach a definitive diagnosis prior to surgery is beyond the remit of this text as it assumes the correct technique has already been selected by the clinician. Each surgical technique is addressed in a concise step by step description in bullet point formation and accompanied by clear and detailed step by step colour photographs which complement the descriptions well. In cases where there are several reported techniques for an individual procedure e.g. liver biopsy, the book provides both photographs and descriptions of these options. Each section is completed by a concise summary of possible postoperative complications and considerations for management of these complications. For some procedures e.g. perineal hernia repair, this section is brief and a clinician may need to consult a separate text to provide more detailed advice on management of post-operative complications if required. In addition, for procedures such as the surgical management of brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome, in depth advice on the appropriate anaesthesia protocol is not discussed in detail.


In summary, this text would be a useful addition to any practice library and provides an easily accessible and clear reference guide to common soft tissue surgical procedures. The author is to be commended for the quality of the photography and concise step wise descriptions. As a text, it would complement books such as the BSAVA manuals, and for recent graduates with an interest in surgery, it provides an excellent reference text to guide them as they gain surgical experience.

Rachel Hattersley

Rachel completed an ECVS surgical residency at the University of Liverpool in 2011 and achieved the ECVS diploma in small animal surgery in 2012. She currently works as a clinical lecturer at the University of Nottingham as part of the clinical team at Pride Veterinary Hospital. Her areas of interest include wound reconstruction following oncological surgery, abdominal surgery and arthroscopy.