Atlas of Surgery of the Facial Nerve: An Otolaryngologists’s Perspective, 2nd edition

Review by L Flood
Middlesborough, UK

I enjoyed the first edition of this book, and the second is, again, much more than the title suggests. ‘An Atlas…’ often suggests lots of nice illustrations but variable scientific content. Not so here. With two high quality DVDs of operative surgery, this book represents remarkable value. There are now 21 chapters, ranging from the obvious topics (anatomy, physiology, testing of the facial nerve) to the closing chapters covering plastic surgery and reanimation of the paralysed face. The final chapter, on anaesthesia for otologic surgery, carries a generic message well beyond the topic of this book. I would pay ‘80 bucks’ for this message alone, printed out and stuck up in our anaesthetic rooms, if only anyone would listen!

Ten chapters, primarily the early ones, are by the Editor and are clearly based on a vast clinical experi- ence. Subsequent contributors hail from a variety of locales, from New Orleans, to Turkey, to Australia. From the UK, I have to mention our own David Moffat, and Guy Kenyon of course. I cannot resist quoting the opening line of the former’s chapter: ‘The surgeon with good clinical acumen (Moffat et al. 1998) will be aware of…’. I must admit that his chapter supports this claim, with a remarkable personal series of cases and excellent imaging. Our own JLO Senior Editor contributes a chapter on medical management of facial palsy, and offers a good, evidence-based review of steroids and antiviral drugs in the management of various causes of facial paralysis. I like the lack of dogmatic conclusions and the vague suspicion that, whatever the evidence, most of us would still be tempted to try everything going, if we or ours were thus afflicted!

There are high quality colour illustrations through- out. Some of the operative illustrations can be challenging, until compared with their origin, in the DVD recordings. The surgery demonstrated will be invaluable to surgeons of all levels of experience. Big burrs, plenty of irrigation, fast drilling and dehiscences that are truly remarkable. Narula, Swann and Flood will argue against the absolute necessity for facial nerve monitoring at any national meeting, and if you cannot spot the nerve here then consider a career with the nasendoscope. I thought there might be some overlap between sections: for example, text on facial nerve schwannoma follows Moffat’s chapter on tumours. Equally chapter 8, the ‘Facial Nerve in Temporal Bone Fractures’ is followed by 10, ‘Traumatic Facial Nerve Paralysis’, but this never proves an unnecessary duplication.

The DVDs alone would justify the price of this book. Be careful opening the envelopes housing them though; I managed to tear the page in the process!

Amazon Link: Atlas of Surgery of the Facial Nerve: An Otolaryngologists’s Perspective, 2nd edition
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