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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Tariq M. Malik, MD (University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)
Description: This is a pretty comprehensive collection of pain procedures which are usually performed in a pain clinic. This update of the 2004 edition has 20 additional chapters encompassing new procedures and includes a DVD which demonstrates 10 procedures.
Purpose: The book is meant to teach technical aspects of procedures. It is supposed to be a self help manual of pain procedures. These are very worthy objectives but I am not sure if they have been completely met. The procedures are discussed in very broad terms rather than in a detailed fashion. A lot of nitty-gritty details are missing.
Audience: It is targeted at interventional pain physicians. Many pain fellows will find it very useful, and it includes a few blocks which would be of interest to regional anesthesia practitioners. The author is well known in the field of pain medicine and has many pain books to his credit.
Features: The book's 147 chapters are grouped into eight sections, each of which covers blocks related to one region of the body. The last section contains advanced interventional techniques and covers topics like disc procedures, vertebral augmentation techniques, neuraxial neurolysis, and pump implantation methods. Each chapter covers one pain procedure and discusses indications, relevant anatomy, procedural aspects, and complications. The text is simple and pertinent, and is supplemented by illustrations and fluoro images. Every chapter ends with a paragraph of clinical pearls in which the author tries to make important clinical observations about the procedure and to reiterate important points. The provision of CPT codes with every block also is very helpful. Any chapter can be read under ten minutes. The DVD provides useful real-time visual experience of a few procedures. Somehow, there is no chapter on joint injections, nor is there any discussion of ultrasound guided blocks. There is too much stress on illustrations to explain the blocks when they should have been depicted on real pictures of patients with more fluoro images. Quite a few fluoro images are not clear. Discussions of the blocks are missing quite a few technical details and I doubt anyone can do the procedures solely by reading this book.
Assessment: This is a good book to have in the office to refresh one's memory before doing an uncommon block. However, in no way will it help teach anyone to do a block if one has not done that block under supervision, especially the advanced interventional pain procedures. Illustrations are good, but fluoro images are insufficient for quite a few procedures. The book lacks a discussion of pulsed radiofrequency. The DVD may be a nice visual aid, but it adds nothing to readers' knowledge because it is poorly directed and viewers cannot see a procedure actually being done in a step-by-step fashion.