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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Herbert H. Engelhard, MD, PhD (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: This introductory book on spine surgery consists of 275 clearly-written pages, illustrated with line drawings and photographs of representative radiographic studies.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a simple guide to the basics of diagnosing and treating the major operative diseases of the spine. While much has certainly been written about the subject of spine surgery, the editors do meet their objectives. Considering the price, this book also represents an excellent value.
Audience: It is primarily targeted to neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery residents. However, it can also be used as an aid by other clinicians who are not spine surgeons but wish to have a working knowledge in the field (for example, in order to explain basic treatment options and procedures to patients and their families). While many of the contributors are not among the best-known authorities in their respective fields, such fame is not required for this type of text. Most of what is covered is the basic "bread and butter" of practicing spine surgeons.
Features: The editors begin by explaining the relevant surgical anatomy, neurological examination, and imaging studies. Contributors go on to cover anesthetic considerations, intraoperative monitoring, spinal mechanics and instability, and several of the major operative approaches to the spine. There are also chapters on spinal fusion, surgery for scoliosis, arthroscopic microdiscectomy, postoperative complications, and perioperative back pain management. The material is presented in a clean and appealing visual format, and the editors and contributors avoid becoming bogged down in minute technical details. The main shortcoming to the book is that much of what constitutes spine surgery — and the bulk of spinal diseases — cannot be covered in a volume of this size.
Assessment: This is a very useful text that will be enjoyed and appreciated by residents and medical students. It should definitely be available (in multiple copies) in every medical school library.