Rarely can an individual's information need seem as serious or as immediate as when a physician orders a medical screening or intervention. In its detailed descriptions of a wide range of medical procedures, the second edition of The Gale Encyclopedia of Surgery and Medical Tests conveys the necessary information to contextualize those clinical interventions in an accessible yet authoritative manner. Each entry features guidance in terms of preoperative preparation, aftercare, morbidity and mortality associated with the procedure, and perhaps most importantly, non-surgical alternatives, including the likely results of inaction, or "watchful waiting." A bibliography of recent related books, periodicals, organizations and online resources offers avenues for further research. The history and refinement of many procedures is chronicled, and some indication as to how routinized the procedure might be considered is given. Also described are the length of time typically involved for both the procedure and recovery, and whether local or general anesthesia is the norm. Highlighted questions to ask the doctor for each procedure are particularly comprehensive and will demonstrate the patient's advocacy for their own well-being. More general articles include choosing a surgeon, surgical preparation, pain management, and post-surgical infections. Cross-references within the encyclopedia direct the reader to other articles when appropriate. From routine blood panels and colonoscopies to organ transplant and craniosurgical reconstruction, the Encyclopedia describes both the routine and the more sublime medical interventions, such as exenteration, "a major operation during which all the content of a body cavity are removed." The juxtaposition of articles on ABO blood-typing and abortion in the first volume, with each procedure described in equivalent detail, sets the tone for the work as a whole. Some common procedures are not addressed. While the process of determining body temperature using an oral thermometer is outlined, the Encyclopedia does not describe one of the most routine of medical tests, the Pap smear. And while detailing dental procedures like extraction, root canals, and implants, fails to discuss the more common dental procedure, filling cavities. Its most striking aspect, are the full-color visuals that enable the patient and caregivers to envision the procedure quite vividly. Pencil drawings depict the human body in cross-section, with sequential details demonstrating the process with appropriate surgical equipment, approach, and technique, with the occasional photograph from the operating theater as well. Recommended for public libraries, where it will allay the inevitable anxieties medical procedures or testing inspire.