Pocket Tutor Otolaryngology

Review by L Flood
Middlesborough, UK

This is one of a series of 13 such Pocket Tutors, which includes such titles as Neuroimaging, Neurological Examination and Surface Anatomy. If the rest are remotely of this quality, they could be invaluable to the ENT trainee and junior doctor. Truly a pocket-sized book (that could have fitted into the white coat now universally banned in the UK), this does represent remarkable value. Alan Johnson, in the foreword, laments the lack of ENT in the undergraduate curriculum, a comment that could be applied to much of basic medical science and clinical practice, frankly.

For its small size, the book is very well illustrated and the layout makes for easy browsing. Line diagrams are excellent; colour photographs can be occasionally criticised but are very well printed, again remarkable at this price. Bullet points are boxed as ‘Clinical Insight’ or ‘Guiding Principle’ and are very well set out, generally directed to the primary care physician. I enjoyed the mnemonic for cranial nerves V and VII, which was new to me. And ‘E COLI’ for the ABR pathway is brilliant, unforgettable and alone almost justifies the purchase.

To please all, such a book will ideally tackle the most basic science and the commonest conditions in our specialty, but also attract the novice to the diversity that ENT can offer. This book carries nice illustrations of acoustic neuroma imaging and microlaryngoscopy findings, and the best view of endoscopic pouch stapling that this reviewer has ever seen.

The odd picture disappoints. Cholesteatoma diagnosis does rely on otoscopic skills, and the single endoscopic picture presented is as unconvincing as the one of Little’s area. A barium swallow picture is more extraordinary for the jewellery which almost obscures the abnormality. It is encouraging to see (for these authors anyway) that the head mirror and the tuning fork are still regarded as part of the routine kit for examination. But how many contemporary trainees would even recognise them, let alone agree?

This is the best of several handbooks of ENT that I have reviewed for this journal, regardless of the price. How it can be published to this quality is astonishing. Highly recommended for bulk purchase, to supplement induction programmes for example.

Amazon Link: Pocket Tutor Otolaryngology
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