Botulinum Neurotoxin for Head and Neck Disorders, 2nd edn

Review by L Flood
Middlesborough, UK

I well remember reviewing the first edition, which appeared in 2012, but it is now just a fond memory, as I then put it into the departmental library. This has always been the equivalent of leaving it on a train seat. So, lacking the first edition, the challenge was to determine what was new in 2020. It has a new third author, an updated cover in Thieme style and it is encouraging that its price has only increased by 5 Euros. The cover tells us there is new insight into spastic dysphonia, a fresh chapter on Botox in the treatment of radiation-induced spasm and pain, and updated literature reviews on topics as diverse as palatal myoclonus and sialorrhoea. A particularly well written Foreword was also a great help in spotting novelty in the new edition. It makes the point that what started out as a surprising indication, reduction of wrinkles, dramatically expanded into the autonomic nervous system. An interesting ‘I had not thought of that’ suggestion stems from the recommendation that Botox therapy should not be applied more frequently than once every three months. The point of course is that any practitioner, treating Frey syndrome, might wish to ensure facial beauty at the same sitting, rather than two weeks on. Every chapter does come with an impressive list of references and I usually do check them for recently dated publications. Curiously, and not this publisher’s usual style, there is no year given for any reference throughout. No matter, cross-checking on PubMed told me this edition is well updated.

Illustrations are always a strong feature of Thieme’s releases and this book is no exception. The colour anatomy diagrams draw heavily, indeed almost exclusively, on their 2008 Atlas of Anatomy text book (and I see a new one is out this month), but they are very well chosen and printed. Better yet are the ‘thumbnail’ colour prints directing the reader to one of 24 videos. For once, the videos really do fit into the text rather than being seen as a bonus or even an afterthought.

The text follows the traditional style of this publisher, with Key Points/Pearls, Complications and Pitfalls, but especially injection techniques for every indication. The list of chapters shows how far botulinum toxin therapy has come from the early days of dystonias and muscle spasms. Twenty chapters cover topics as diverse as chronic tension headache, Frey syndrome or oesophageal spasm, and, in many cases, even outline alternative medical or surgical treatments.

This is obviously a very practically orientated book, and it will hopefully stimulate trainees to learn more of and adopt what is becoming an indispensable technique. For the rest of us, it is quite remarkable to see how indications have expanded, which takes me back to ‘I had not thought of that’.

Amazon Link: Botulinum Neurotoxin for Head and Neck Disorders, 2nd edn
By purchasing books via this link you will help to fund the JLO