Review by V Veer
As a proud owner and user of the second edition of this well-known textbook, I had assumed that a review of the third edition would be a simple case of reeling off the new additions and commending it to anyone who had a passing interest in ENT. It was only when I actually scrutinised the book that I realised it has quite a niche location on one’s bookshelf.
The editor and authors, who are predominately from North America, seem to have focused on those elements of ENT that many do not encounter on a regular basis. This is most clearly seen by tallying up the number of pages that have been allocated per subject. There are no chapters on epistaxis or nasal polyps, roughly one page on otitis externa, and seven pages on otitis media (in a book with 978 pages). These numbers are in contradistinction to the effort put into the more esoteric subjects that make up modern otolaryngology. There are six pages dedicated to ‘Hair Transplantation’, seven pages to ‘Diving Medicine’ and 19 pages to ‘Neoplasms of the Temporal Bone and Skull Base’ (there are separate chapters for vestibular schwannomas and non-acoustic lesions of the CPA). There is also a colossal 124 pages devoted to ‘Radiology’.
The focus on peripheral ENT subjects seems to be prevalent in all the earlier editions of the textbook, and it was therefore difficult to appreciate who the book was written for. I finally realised that I had used this book previously for exams and also for looking up the rarer problems encountered in clinic. It is full of information on topics that most ENT surgeons have little experience of and do not see every day. For this exact reason, it is great for exam preparation, or for a quick read before a presentation on a subject that you are not familiar with (but really should know about). I know two past CCT gold medal winners who have used this text to good effect. The book is not a leisurely narrative through ENT, like some of the other, better known reference textbooks; rather, it provides information as cold, hard facts. This is perfect when one is in revision mode.
Many of the chapters in this third edition have been updated, and some are completely rewritten. There are many more images in this edition, and the images have been stylised in a standard fashion throughout the book to make them easier to comprehend. My main criticism is that the images are all in low resolution black and white, and in some cases (e.g. histology slides and PET scans) the result is certainly less than adequate. In places, some arrows seem to be pointing at nothing in particular.
However, even when taking this into consideration, I would thoroughly recommend that ENT trainees buy this book, because it covers all those topics that one forgets to learn about.
Amazon Link: Current Diagnosis & Treatment Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Third Edition
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