Clinical Head and Neck Anatomy for Surgeons

Review by L M Flood
Middlesborough, UK

As the introduction explains, this is a book ‘written by surgeons for surgeons’. It therefore very nicely combines basic science anatomy, surgical anatomy (in order to find one’s way around), and, particularly novel, anatomy applied to resection and reconstruction. The introduction is an unusually good read in this book, pointing out many unique features in the head and neck, and its structures. Reading that of the 800 total lymph glands in the body, no fewer than 300 reside above the clavicle, I can now understand why we are so plagued with requests from haematology for lymph node biopsy. That structures lie more superficially is illustrated by a memorable facial laceration, following an assault, but with an excellent repair outcome.

The chapters are of relevance to a variety of surgical specialties, as shown by the many disciplines of the multi-author contributors. Sadly, the book opens with an in memoriam for Barrie Evans, who died just before being able to see the proofs, to which he contributed much. It is suggested that the text will include everything but the eye and ‘neurosurgical neuroanatomy’. In practice, the orbit and cervical spine surgery chapters are particularly comprehensive.

There are the expected topics, but some very imaginative choices too. ‘The Anatomy of the Aging Face’ explains much of what I see when shaving, but I have never seen it so well explained. Did you know how the contour of the orbit changes once one passes 50 years of age? See Fig 2.10 and the downcast expression that results. ‘Anatomy of the Cleft Lip and Palate’ is an excellent example of applied science that one would not expect from the traditional simple atlas. The first chapter, ‘The Scalp’, I imagined would have little to say, but instead of just line diagrams of the layers and of blood supply and innervation, it shows illustrations based on many major resections. Use of imaging seemed surprisingly sparse, until I got to ‘Tissue Spaces of the Neck’; again, clinically highly relevant coverage.

The pure anatomy is well covered with dissections, line diagrams and colour drawings, but that you would expect. What is different is the surgical application of such information; the subunits of the nose, the cadaver dissections into the paranasal sinuses, and the coverage of oral and maxillofacial resections and reconstructions. (Our colleagues in oral and maxillofacial surgery seem to have that gift for photography.)

As an otologist, I confess I had expected more on the deeper parts of the ear, but fully accept the limited relevance for most non-ENT readers, head and neck surgeons. Coverage of middle-ear anatomy without a single diagram or computed tomography section is a bit superficial, but there is many an alternative text concentrating on just that. I found this book is excellent for its coverage of the anatomy I am far less familiar with, perhaps inevitably.

Excellent value for any head and neck surgical library, whether trainee or experienced senior.

Rub away that scratch card and you can have all this text as an e-book. It seems I could read this on my Android smartphone or tablet, if I only knew what that was and had one.

Amazon Link: Clinical Head and Neck Anatomy for Surgeons
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