Michael Woodhead


David Gelber
Riffian Press
ISBN: 0-9820763-5-5
medical, surgery

Behind The Mask takes more than a peek into the life of a surgeon. With a touch of humour, and a down-to-earth manner (with the occasional interjection of medical terminology), the author looks at four areas of concern to the surgeon and the patient.

I Preoperative
One of the most important times a patient can have before surgery is the first talk with the surgeon himself. Oftentimes, the patient will only see the surgeon once or twice, so the more honest facts the patient can give at this time, the better. The author also introduces the reader to various aspects of the human body that can often affect the surgical procedure -- germs, infection, poor healing, blood complications, and so forth

II Intraoperative
The author now takes us inside the operating theatre to give the reader a look at what goes on in there. "Sometimes in the practice of surgery it is necessary to work very quickly". This does not mean, of course, that things are done in a haphazard manner; rather, judgement calls may need to be made on the spot, and the surgeon but be able to do so without hesitation. The life of the patient may depend on it.

III Postoperative
Recovery is just as important as the surgery itself. Once again, the human body is really the thing responsible for healing. certainly, antibiotics can be given, as well as bandages and stitches, but in the end, it is the body itself that heals (or doesn't heal) itself. So, as a word to the wise, the author reminds the readers to make sure they keep their bodies in very good health.

IV The Lighter Side
No doubt, some patients have met rather dour surgeons, but all is not complete seriousness. There are many surgeons with a sense of humour. The author is one of them, and he shares several funny anecdotes and articles (for example, surrogate surgery, where chimpanzees and orangutans are being trained to perform minor surgeries...)

Overall, this is an enlightening look into the mystique of surgery.