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Invasion of the Body


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Dr. Tilney has an eye for fascinating details, shocking stories, and unexpected connections. Invasion of the Body is a riveting account of the astonishing transformation of surgery over the past century. -- Atul Gawande, M.D.

About the Author

Nicholas L. Tilney holds the posts of Honorary Surgeon, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and Francis D. Moore Distinguished Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School.


With the history of surgery and the surgical profession as his main subjects, Tilney does not hesitate to take readers on numerous side trips that enhance their understanding of the field and illustrate the interrelatedness among the discipline of surgery and the rest of medicine. Touching on everything from sanitation-free barber surgeons to robotics, he discusses the evolving science of surgery, the growth of the profession, the individuals responsible for incremental developments and breakthroughs, the technologies now available, and the directions in which the field might be headed...A very readable book that should prove fascinating to both lay readers and professionals. -- Dick Maxwell Library Journal 20110815 Always entertaining...Dr. Tilney's analysis of surgical developments during his long career--he graduated from medical school in 1962--is little short of brilliant...Dr. Tilney provides full accounts of both the science and practice of cardiac and transplant surgery, with their backgrounds in basic immunology and the technology of the heart-lung machine. He illustrates his narrative with vivid examples of real operations, including some from his own surgical experience...He has a wonderful capacity to describe what surgeons actually do when they are operating, why they do it and why it sometimes ends in failure...Dr. Tilney is concerned, as every American citizen ought to be, with the chaotic state of American health care. His last chapter contains a great deal of wisdom (and documentation) about the problems of spiraling costs, inequality of access and the pernicious ways in which the market drives decisions about how much and what kind of treatment a patient receives...He has made a shrewd diagnosis of the lack of system in American health care, and politicians would do well to take his critique seriously. -- William Bynum Wall Street Journal 20110924 Tumours removed, joints replaced, organs transplanted: every weekday, 85,000 non-emergency operations take place in the United States alone. Distinguished U.S. surgeon Nicholas L. Tilney intersperses moments from his own career with a rousing history of the evolution of surgery, breakthrough by breakthrough--from near-butchery to today's fine-tuned procedures. Wading through the gore with aplomb, he covers anaesthesia, pharmaceuticals, asepsis, health-care reform, surgery in war and in peace, facial transplants and more. Nature 20110922 Readers will come away with a new appreciation of the scalpel-wielding specialists who have paved the way for heart and organ transplants, cancer removal, and plastic surgery. -- Laura Landro Wall Street Journal 20111220

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