Since surgery became a method of treating patients, progress in the field has been intimately associated with experimentation and serendipitous research. As in other clinical specialties advances in surgery can be considered to result from experimental attempts to increase basic knowledge and to improve technical skills. However, virtually in no other area do concepts and approaches of experimental research enter clinical routine as fast as in surgery. There are numerous examples of this. Thus, allocation of manpower and resources for surgical research can be considered particu- 1arly profitable as convincingly shown, for instance, in renal transplantation by comparison of the long-term burden of hemodialysis vs. kidney grafting, apart from the relief of suffering and misery. Surgery is a continuously spreading field, and so is surgical research. This volume is a case in point.Its spectrum reaches from basic molecular biological aspects of immune mechanisms to the current state of the art of pulmonary surgery of cancer metastases, and from the molecular processes of cell swelling in ischemic brain edema and blood-brain barrier damage to novel forms of resuscitation or of treatment of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Surgical research faithfully reflects a constant reorientation of medical disciplines. Treatment of renal or gallbladder concrements was a major domain of surgery, where the introduction of extracorporeal shock wave treatment now supplies noninvasive, virtually conservative alternatives.
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