Rhoton’s Atlas of Head, Neck, and Brain. 2D and 3D Images

Review by P J Bradley
Nottingham, UK

This large (11 × 12 inch) volume on the anatomy of the head, neck and skull was commenced in 2011, and was completed over a period of five years, sadly after the death of Dr Albert L Rhoton Jr in 2016. It is dedicated to his memory by the authors. The volume is a masterly compilation of anatomical specimens and pictures spread over 648 pages, with 624 figures, supported with three-dimensional viewing available online from the Thieme MediaCentre.

Dr Albert L Rhoton Jr was Professor and Chief of Neurosurgery at the University of Florida College of Medicine, USA, for 27 years, where it is recorded that he trained ‘innumerable fellows and residents’ in micro-neurosurgery. It was in his Microsurgery and Endoscopic Neurosurgical Laboratory that the anatom- ical dissections were performed.

The volume is divided into four sections (with subsections): osteology (140 pages); face and neck (112 pages); ear, nose, pharynx, larynx and orbit (109 pages); and neuroanatomy and cranial base (218 pages). This is followed by an extensive index (29 pages).

As an otorhinolaryngology – head and neck surgery clinician, only some sections (sections II, III and portions of IV) are relevant, but this should not detract from the detailed labelling and quality of the specimens and coloured pictures. The authors have included modern endoscopic anatomical pictures, with a subsection on endonasal endoscopy. It would have been further enhanced by some endonasal anterior and lateral skull base views of the intracranial anatomy, and images of middle-ear anatomy. In addition, coverage of the intrinsic muscles of the larynx would have added to subsection 16. It must be emphasised that each figure is extensively labelled in English and Latin, with no supporting text. These comments should not be construed as criticism of a beautiful anatomical volume, but instead emphasise the multi-specialty authorship. The book was produced by two professors of neurosurgery, a professor of anatomy supported by his two associate professors, with nine further contributors from Japan, Brazil, Mexico and Australia, one of whom was an ophthalmic plastic surgeon, another a skull base and vascular surgeon, and two were otolaryngologists.

This volume is an example of the work and dedication of anatomists and surgeons to illustrate and publish their work. Only with such information and details of anatomy can surgeons learn and function in their daily work. While anatomical dissection is the best way to learn anatomy and should be so, trainee and junior surgeons should frequently refresh their detailed knowledge, especially before commencing an operation, under the supervision and guidance of a ‘master surgeon’!

This book should be available in the ‘coffee room’ or ‘surgical library’ in hospitals undertaking intracranial, extracranial, and head and neck surgical procedures, and be used frequently as a source for education and reference by future surgeons.

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