Review by C Hopkins
Guy’s & St. Thomas’ Hospitals, London
Wolfgang Draf (1940–2011) sadly passed away before the completion of this book. However, his co-editors have published what is a great legacy to one of the pioneers of transnasal skull base surgery. Everyone will be familiar with Draf’s approaches to the frontal sinuses. In addition, he was one of the first to utilise the microscope and then the endoscope to facilitate dissection of benign and malignant tumours. He embraced his neurosurgical colleagues and initiated the multidisciplinary approach that has allowed skull base surgery to flourish. Carrau and Kassam have built on this foundation and made significant advances in expanded endonasal approaches. I was keen to get my hands on this book – and it certainly lives up to expectations.
The results of this work are beautifully captured in this book. The anatomy chapter, with dissection specimens presented by Carrau, Kassam and Tschabitscher, is spectacular. I am always awed by Kassam’s anatomical lectures, but often fail to keep up with his relentless pace – this book has the same high quality illustrations, but there is the added bonus of being able to turn back a page and just check where you are!
The key elements of this book are the 360-degree philosophy of Carrau and Kassam, and then a walk through of the anterior approaches, including the sino-nasal, expanded endonasal and transpterygoid corridors. The relatively small size of the book belies the enormous amount of detail contained within. As a result, it does assume reasonable background knowledge. The chapter on tumour-specific strategies then starts to apply the authors’ philosophy to clinical scenarios. My managers would particularly like the comment that pituitary surgery should take no more than 40 minutes – I suspect in the author’s hands this probably includes the anaesthetic!
Reading this book is a little like listening to Kassam – inspiring but exhausting at the same time. Thieme, as always, have produced a polished text, and the quality of the images throughout is superb. Apparently there has been a move away from including digital video disks with texts, as they were often neglected, which is a shame, as this would have been a useful addition. Regardless, this book is excellent value for money and comes highly recommended. My only criticism? They omitted the palatovaginal canal from the anatomy section – my favourite foramen when grilling my Fellow on computed tomography scans. My secret will be safe!
Amazon Link: Enodonasal Endoscopic Surgery of Skull Base Tumours: an Interdisciplinary Approach
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