Diagnostic Imaging: Head and Neck, 2nd Edition

Harnsberger HR, Glastonbury CM, Michel MA, et al.  Diagnostic Imaging: Head and Neck, 2nd Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 1206 Pages, 5516 Illustrations, $339.00.

In yet another remarkable publication by Amirysis—Diagnostic Imaging:  Head and Neck, 2nd Edition, Dr. Ric Harnsberger and his co-editors (Drs. Glastonbury, Michel, and Koch) have once again raised the bar for textbook completeness and educational material.  When the first edition was published in 2004 along with the other two volumes pertaining to Neuroradiology (Diagnostic Imaging:  Brain and Diagnostic Imaging:  Spine) the thought was that these books were about as complete as one could reasonably expect.  Now, just as we have seen with the second editions of the Spine and Brain books, this Head and Neck book adds more to the encyclopedic information relative to anatomy and pathology in this discipline (shall we christen these books together as the OED of Neuroradiology?).

In addition to the editors mentioned above there were five contributing authors (Drs. Chapman, Lee, Hamilton, Ginsberg, and Loevner) and 21 other radiologists who contributed case material to the book.

It continues to be a matter of personal preference which method of learning is best.  Is it the prose-like writing as seen in the two more classic textbooks by Som and Curtin or by Mancuso or the type of presentation of material in this book which is most effective in imparting information and having it stick?  This is not the type of book (as with the others in this Diagnostic Imaging series) you would attempt to read cover to cover; rather, you use it to look up an abnormality or suspected abnormalities in order to read about imaging characteristics, the pathology involved, and differential diagnoses.  As most readers of the AJNR know, material is presented here in a staccato-like manner with multiple bits of information cataloged under specific headings.

The book is divided into six parts with each containing between two to fifteen sections.  Within each section there are multiple subsections and what one could call chapters (actually these are more like individual cases).  Each case has a series CT and/or MR images, commonly 4 to 6, with legends and appropriate labeling.  Included is a Table/Chart summarizing the Key Facts of that particular disease, following which there is an elaboration of these key facts.  So we read in a bullet-like format the terminology used in describing the disease, imaging features and findings, differential diagnosis (in words only—no illustrations), clinical issues including brief mention of treatment, a diagnostic checklist which contains specific imaging points of which one should be aware, and a brief to substantial reference list.  While there is slight deviation of this pattern from case to case, this is the general layout throughout the book.

Much of the case material is supplemented by an “Overview” chapter that  lays out the protocols, approaches, anatomy, lesion considerations and clinical implications.  Take just one example, the section on the Nose and Sinus, where incidentally, Dr. Michel has written the entire section.  Here we are treated first to her thoughts of this area, followed by exquisite anatomic drawings and appropriately selected normal CTs.  Albeit short, it is good to see that sections of the book have images and descriptive material on postoperative and post-treatment changes.  Personally, this reviewer would have preferred more cases and anatomic drawings of situations like the reconstructed neck or cochlear implants.  In the neck particularly postoperative imaging is often the most vexing and problematic of any area of the head and neck radiology.  Maybe Dr. Harnsberger and his co-editors will consider expanding this portion of the book in a third edition (6 years hence).

So with this book in one hand (lengthy description of multiple abnormalities) and the sister book Expert Diagnostic: Head and Neck in the other hand, one can use the findings on a CT or MR to look up in Expert ddx what the differential diagnosis is and then look up in this book more complete information.  Together these are what one could call a “dynamic duo.”

This book and all those in this series (Brain/Spine/Head and Neck) are recommended in the highest terms.  These have altered the landscape of publications in diagnostic imaging, and they are not to be missed by anyone in our field.

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Beginning with the January 2009 issue, all book reviews that have been published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology are now available on AJNR Blog. As of January 2010, book reviews are a blog-only feature and no longer appear in the print or online versions of the AJNR.
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One Response to Diagnostic Imaging: Head and Neck, 2nd Edition

  1. harnsberger says:

    Hello! Ric Harnsberger here. I deeply appreciate this generous review of our book Diagnostic Imaging: Head & Neck, 2nd edition. My team and I worked hard to provide our colleagues with an accurate, up-to-date, and user-friendly diagnostic reference tool for head & neck. I’d like to mention some of my team members who weren’t mentioned explicitly in this review but who made major contributions as principal authors of the book: Drs. Branstetter, Davidson, Shatzkes, Cornelius, Hutchins, Phillips, Hudgins, Mosier, Robson, Stambuk, Salzman, and Wiggins. Without each of these head & neck expert authors this book could not have been completed. We all appreciate the suggestions the reviewer made regarding what might be incorporated into a 3rd edition, and we will certainly take those into account. In the meantime, we hope this new 2nd edition will prove a valuable tool for our colleagues for many years to come!

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