Head, Neck and Thyroid Surgery: An Introduction and Practical Guide

Review by L Flood
Middlesborough, UK

This publisher has again produced a book that is probably a credit to UK otolaryngology, but I do not have the printed version to confirm that. It seems to come in both a hardback and paperback version, with an obvious range of prices, as above, but reviewers can only view it in an e-book, digital format. As an old dinosaur, I would not usually consider trying to review such a format, but could not miss a book of this importance. Reading off a personal computer monitor does not appeal to my generation, and yet, I have to admit, the text is bright, clear and colourful. Illustrations, whether diagrams or monochrome imaging, are of a standard no printer could ever offer (I can only imagine of course). The search facility is superb, as I found when hunting for ‘skin’, which is said to be covered, but lacks its own chapter. Instead, I was guided to every single use of the word in every chapter. I could almost become a convert.

The Preface tells us this is an easy-to-read, evidence-based introduction, and I would heartily agree. The format is ideal for ‘dipping in’, with many a bullet point, table, boxed tip or pearl of wisdom. There are 16 chapters, covering each ENT subsite, and not just for malignancy of course. Whether hypopharyngeal pouch, atypical mycobacterial adenitis in children, or acute sialadenitis, all get as much mention as local oncology. Additional chapters address pre-operative care, anatomy and differential diagnosis, imaging, and reconstruction. The authors are largely UK-based, and, indeed, mostly from the South West or from above a line drawn through Birmingham (with not one London contributor. How times have changed!).

The text is of a uniform style and quality, suggesting some good editing has gone into this. I did read the oropharyngeal chapter with great interest, and was impressed at how updated it proved. I like the sound of the tumour–node–metastasis (TNM) staging system in its brand new 8th edition, learning that the stage IV of the 7th becomes stage I of the 8th. That is fine by me.
This is a very handy quick-reference book that will inspire further in-depth reading, and I do think, at the sacrifice of some trees for wood pulp, the published book will prove a great success with trainees in otolaryngology or maxillofacial surgery, especially as end-of-training exams loom. I am reluctant to admit it, but even the e-book version won me over.

Amazon Link: Head, Neck and Thyroid Surgery: An Introduction and Practical Guide
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