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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Tariq M. Malik, MD (University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)
Description: The focus is on images in this atlas of common regional blocks, although they are accompanied by brief descriptions. An added section covers an ultrasound approach for a few blocks. The full text of the book is available online, which also has 12 very nice video clips of different blocks.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a quick and simple visual approach to common blocks. The idea is to provide a concise but clear understanding of the techniques.
Audience: Intended for any physician interested in learning regional anesthesia at any level of training, the atlas will be useful not only for anesthesia residents, but also for experienced anesthesiologists or ER physicians who want to quickly refresh their knowledge before performing a block. All chapters are written by well-known authors who are also experienced clinicians.
Features: This comprehensive book covers all the blocks one needs for performing any type of orthopedic surgery. The first of the book's eight sections is an overview of the regional anesthesia setup for single shot and continuous block techniques, pharmacology of local anesthetics, physical principles of ultrasound, and nerve stimulation. Every section deals with an anatomical region like upper limb, lower limb, trunk, or head and neck. The section on airway blocks and chronic pain blocks is much more clinical than an average regional anesthesia handbook. Each section opens with a description of clinical anatomy for that region, followed by descriptions of different block techniques. One block is covered in each chapter, and each chapter explains the background of the block, technical aspects of the block, and common complications that could be encountered while performing the block. The chapters end with a paragraph of important clinical pointers to improve the safety and success of the block. All of this is supplemented by an abundance of illustrations and images. The technique described for each block is simple and precise; nothing is left to the imagination. The online video clips are very crisp and informative. Because it is an atlas, it's hard to fault the book for its brevity. However, at times it makes the block look too simple and does not stress enough the human variability that makes real-life experience so different. The authors would do well to describe all chronic pain blocks as fluoro-guided, instead of based on landmarks with their high failure rate.
Assessment: This book has high quality illustrations and is quite appealing. It covers regional anesthesia quite nicely. It cannot be considered the be-all and end-all of regional anesthesia, but it's a good start and a good companion for everyday practice. The growing role of ultrasound necessitates the replacement of the previous edition.