Diagnosis and Treatment of Voice Disorders

Review by L Flood
Middlesborough, UK

This is a subject of which I thought I knew little, which, arguably, made me the ideal reviewer. It is the UK summer; many a book has been posted to enthusiastic expert reviewers, but there is little resulting in my in-tray. The old principle of ‘if you want a thing doing’ applies, and those who know me know also that profound ignorance has never stopped me from pronouncing, with great authority, on any subject.

Furthermore, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (in desperation?) elevated me to the status of expert advisor on laryngology, when notified of a new procedure: transverse cordotomy for vocal fold paralysis. The arrival of this book was a godsend and it turned out that it covers the procedure in great detail, proving how thoroughly the book has been updated. Indeed, the title of this book somehow led me to underestimate its scope; this ends up as much more of a massive textbook of laryngology in general. I expected chapters on the work of speech and language pathologists, and on phonosurgery, but there are chapters on such airway topics as laryngotracheal trauma, stenosis, reinnervation and transplantation (no prizes for guessing the UK contributor there), making this of great relevance to all trainees and even the everyday ‘jobbing’ otolaryngologist.

Ten years after the third edition, this has been expanded to 58 chapters and it weighs a ton. I always judge the quality of updating by checking the chapter references’ year of publication. There is a great little chapter on research in laryngology which stands this test well. The final chapter on telemedicine speaks for itself as topical! There are high-quality illustrations throughout, as you would expect from laryngology practice. Jean Abitbol’s chapter on three-dimensional computed tomography of the larynx shows the most remarkable colour images. A chapter on videography and photography of the larynx makes me wonder at what we used to achieve with 35 mm slide film, but also how things move on. Clearly UK surgeons can take the odd snap, to judge by the work of Sandhu and Howard on laryngotracheal stenosis. Look at their Figure 48-2 as the cleverest way to size a stenosed larynx (something no human eye can possibly do, unaided; remember the square of the radius rule, for cross sectional area).

Frankly, you might miss this book and think it is solely for the small minority who make phonosurgery their life work. For the experts, this remains a standard text, but it is an invaluable update for final exit exams and for anyone working in general otorhinolaryngology clinical practice.

Amazon Link: Diagnosis and Treatment of Voice Disorders
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