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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Carol L. Andrews, MD (Tower Imgaging Medical Group)
Description: This atlas-like book addresses common procedures employed in the interventional pain management. Its sections are organized to address general issues such as medications and radiation safety as well as specific techniques ranging from maxillary nerve block to vertebroplasty.
Purpose: The authors' stated purpose is to provide step-by-step instructions with special emphasis on radiographic imaging. There is definitely a need for this type of manual and they do offer an organized approach to this technical information. However, this is not a book a novice could use as a safe and complete guide to performing these procedures. It lacks step-by-step description of these complex procedures and the scarce radiographic images are of poor quality, leaving the reader no idea what is being illustrated.
Audience: The inconsistent writing style limits this manual's usefulness to the beginning and experienced practitioner. Some topics are covered at a very basic level, such as radiation physics (not a particularly applicable subject for this target audience), while other topics such as lumbar facet injections are treated with exquisite detail creating a sharp contrast to the superficial discussion of more complex procedures relating to radiofrequency ablation and epiduroscopy. These authors are credible, well-published experts in anesthesiology.
Features: The first three chapters cover radiation physics, the basic circuitry of an x-ray machine, and radiation safety. A limited chapter on the pharmacology of pain management addresses local anesthetics, neurolytics and (very obliquely) the use of contrast agents with no mention of several drugs repeatedly referenced throughout the remainder of the book including the use of steroid agents and hyalgan. The remainder of the book addresses the individual techniques used in the head, neck, chest, abdomen, and spine. Each chapter is organized with a brief history of the procedure followed by relevant anatomy, clinical indications, equipment, commonly used drugs, the procedure techniques, potential complications and efficacy. "Helpful hints" are included and the experts offer useful tidbits clearly gleaned from their years of combined experience. There are CPT codes listed for some of the procedures, although they are not complete and reference to a current coding book is recommended.
Assessment: This book has a worthy agenda but fails to accomplish the goal of becoming the "go-to" reference in the area of pain management with radiographic guidance.