Lateral Neck Swellings: Diagnostic and Therapeutic Challenges

Review by L Flood
Middlesbrough, UK

I could only get the ebook version of this, so really could not ask my most trusted head and neck reviewer to take on the task (sorry Pat) but, as a text that is designed for dipping into, rather than reading from cover to cover, that format proved easier to assess than I usually find.

The short Preface opens with “In this authored book, we aim at” but there is no information on any contributors other than the lead author/editor, who is a Professor of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery in Alexandria. He is clearly a prolific writer, who already has at least four earlier textbooks from Springer and a total of 23 published. This is a substantial work with nearly 2000 references (of which a remarkable 562 relate to a chapter on cervical lymphadenopathy), some very nice artwork, especially when illustrating anatomy, and a limited number of clinical photographs. The last is only to be expected, as there is only so much novelty in countless images of a bulge in the side of the neck.

It did strike me that, despite the title, some of the pathologic processes described did seem very near to the midline in practice, e.g. thyroid nodules, Ludwig’s Angina or ranulas, but their inclusion only increases the value of the book of course. I confess I had no idea there were so many triangles in the neck, and that so many of them are eponymous, but again that is the problem with an elderly otologist reviewing such a textbook.

In a chapter on the clinical approach to a neck mass, the history taking, clinical examination and special investigation required was particularly well described. Ultrasound was somewhat dismissed as “Highly operator dependent” but I feel that skill is well worth developing, when imaging is not immediately available.

The chapter format that follows is to look at Solid Swellings in every conceivable region of the anterior triangle (seven chapters ranging from the tail of parotid to the sternocleidomastoid tumour). Five chapters follow on various cystic lesions in the same territory. The same approach is then applied to the posterior triangle, solid and then cystic lesions. Finally a very short chapter of follow up and patient education does lack some novel clinical message, as I hope its content is self evident to all. The book is certainly comprehensive in that the rarest disorders receive extensive coverage and pathology slides are very well reproduced. One can read about Kimura’s, Castleman’s or Rosai Dorfman disease in great detail as, again, this book is ideal for “dipping into”. I had never thought of drug-induced lymphadenopathy, but am much the wiser now.

Reading off a PC monitor has never appealed to this reviewer, who curiously does see the Kindle as a traveller’s Godsend, but this book almost convinces that there is a role for the ebook. This text has a very impressive content and would be a great revision for any surgical higher examination. The candidate would know far more than the examiners.

Amazon Link: Lateral Neck Swellings: Diagnostic and Therapeutic Challenges
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