Otolaryngology Lifelong Learning Manual 3rd Edition

Review by L M Flood
Middlesborough, UK

The title makes quite a claim and promised to be more than just a very comprehensive updated textbook. I guess I expected to read something based on ‘How to maintain your continuing medical education’ rather than ‘everything you need to know’. I am reminded of the famous pamphlet issued to Imperial Japanese troops, embarked for Malaya in 1941, entitled ‘Read This Alone and the War is Already Won’. It contained such treasures as ‘Do not fall ill’, and could not foresee Midway, New Guinea or Oppenheimer. The message from the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation is, similarly, just learn what is herein and you are updated. I think life-long learning is about becoming and remaining a good teacher, trainer, lecturer, author, researcher, manager and ethical practitioner. Those skills are not easily described in print.

Now this is indeed a very comprehensive textbook of 110 chapters, with a corresponding multitude of authors. Coverage inevitably varies and, whilst there is many a table of classification and staging systems, illustrations are lacking. Exceptions are in the chapters on benign laryngology, imaging in otology, and (a favourite although not my field at all) the anatomy of the lateral nasal wall and paranasal sinuses. Odd though that nearly 100 pages on facial plastic surgery carries not a single illustration or diagram, with the sole exception of hair loss correction. The chapter ‘Concepts in New Imaging Techniques’ cries out for an example or two. Costs may have prevented this and the book is remarkably cheap.

This is a book to dip into, a reference, rather than one to read cover to cover. Brief early chapters on ‘The Business of Medicine’ are very focused on US practice, and the two tables of acronyms applied to US healthcare are truly daunting reading! Chapters on ethics, outcomes research and core competencies do hint at what the book title promises, a guide to maintaining one’s continuing medical education. The other 700 pages are a menu rather than an instructional cookery book.

This is an excellent reference work for the advanced trainee, or indeed any ENT practitioner, in need of updating their knowledge on a given topic. A heavy soft-backed book of 767 pages, I would again stress what value for money it represents. I think I am just quibbling over its claim to be a manual, especially after reading the dictionary definition of such.

Amazon Link: Otolaryngology Lifelong Learning Manual 3rd Edition
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