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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Tariq M. Malik, MD (University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)
Description: This is an excellent book on ultrasound guided regional anesthesia.
Purpose: It is intended to shorten the learning curve of physicians who are starting to perform ultrasound guided peripheral nerve blocks as well as to improve the success and safety of blocks by providing clinically relevant anatomy in more detail. The author has successfully achieved these valuable goals.
Audience: This book is useful for any anesthesiologist who practices regional anesthesia either in adults or in children. It describes in detail two common techniques, neurostimulation and ultrasound, for performing blocks. The information is useful for both new anesthesia residents and experienced anesthesiologists. The author is a well known authority in the field and recruited some well known experts as consultant editors.
Features: The initial chapters explain the physiology of nerve stimulation, the physics of ultrasound, and the basic skills in ultrasound needed to perform ultrasound guided blocks. These introductory chapters are soul of the book and set it apart from other regional anesthesia textbooks. The information is precise, brief, to the point, and clinically relevant. The book then goes on to describe each nerve block one by one. The format for each chapter is the same: a description of anatomy, MRI images to reinforce the 3D image of the relevant area, an explanation of how to do the block using a twitch monitor, followed by a description of how to do the block using ultrasound. The book provides useful tips on how to improve the block technique using neurostimulation, which probe to use, and how to improve images of a particular area while performing the ultrasound guided block. Using this format, the book covers all the upper and lower extremity blocks. Additional chapters cover how to place a neuraxial catheter using ultrasound and nerve stimulation. The MRI images and the discussion of anatomy before the description of each block are the best parts of the book. The many ultrasound images, which have been taken from real life, give practitioners a real sense of what nerve images look like, as opposed to other regional anesthesia books, which tend to provide neat and clean images rarely seen in patients. The book would have been enhanced by the inclusion of a DVD of all the blocks. It would have made those uncommonly performed techniques, like ultrasound guided epidural blocks, much easier to follow for someone who is beginning to use this technique.
Assessment: This is an extremely valuable addition to the field. It is practically a compilation of all that we know about ultrasound guided regional anesthesia. There is only one other book that specifically addresses the topic of ultrasound guided regional anesthesia, Perioperative Diagnostic and Interventional Ultrasound, Harmon et al. (Elsevier, 2008), but this one covers the topic in much more detail.