Mettler FA, Guiberteau MJ. Essentials of Nuclear Medicine Imaging. Sixth Edition. Saunders-Elsevier 2012, 624 pages, $129.
Essentials of Nuclear Medicine Imaging was first published in 1983 and has served as one of the most useful and widely referenced textbooks in Nuclear Medicine. For years this book has proven to be quite resourceful to Nuclear Medicine residents during board examination. This latest revision, the 6th edition, incorporates the latest information on the innovative technological and medical breakthroughs since the last edition, and includes major organizational changes to significantly enhance the book’s overall readability.
The format throughout this book can be described as consistent, concise, and highly readable. This edition is organized into 13 chapters. Chapters 1 and 2 describe basic radionuclides, instrumentation, and quality control. Chapters 3 through 9 discuss Nuclear Medicine imaging by organ systems. Chapters 10 and 11 cover tumor imaging while chapter 12 focuses on inflammation and infection imaging. The last chapter touches upon radiation safety issues. In addition, this edition includes 9 highly searchable appendixes, which provide useful data tables and additional references for Nuclear Medicine practitioners.
There are several key changes in this latest edition. The biggest improvement over the previous edition is the integration of PET imaging. While the 5th edition includes a dedicated chapter covering all aspects of PET imaging, the 6th edition incorporates PET imaging across all chapters. This results in tremendous improvement on the readability of this book. For example, if one wants to know about Nuclear Medicine imaging in epilepsy, she or he can learn it broadly and in context from Chapter 3, titled “Central Nervous System.” This would not be possible in the previous edition, since readers would have to read the chapter on central nervous system and another chapter on PET imaging.
Furthermore, the authors added updated information on innovative and upcoming technologies such as PET/MRI, radiotracers recently in clinical use (e.g., F-18 NaF), as well as new clinical applications and limitations of PET in oncology. Also, the PET section in the Cardiac Imaging chapter has been significantly updated with handy knowledge and protocols. Readers will also find several chapters with a number of new images such as SPET/CT images in infection and inflammation chapters and PET/CT images in the skeleton chapter.
Another welcome change to this edition is the availability of online full-text. Namely, readers can access the digital full-text copy of this book from any computer or mobile device via expertconsult.com. In addition to the added convenience from easy access, readers can benefit from the rapid search capability, which puts the user-friendliness of this book on a whole new level.
With regards to neuroradiology, this book provides an end-to-end coverage in Chapter 3 (“Central Nervous System”). This book includes outdated yet classic cases that are rarely used in today’s practices, such as planar imaging or SPECT imaging for cerebrovascular disease. While these cases are worth knowing, experienced Nuclear Medicine physicians might not find them as useful. In addition, the authors included updated information on new radiotracers for diseases such as dementia that have recently entered the spotlight of a broad range of academic research endeavors. Also, a number of new PET scan images using PiP and fusion image of PET and MRI are added to this chapter.
Despite numerous improvements to this edition, there are several areas of improvement opportunities. Even though the overall content of this book is sufficiently updated for general practice of Nuclear Medicine physicians, researchers or neuroradiologists who specialize in cutting-edge research areas might find this book inadequate in certain aspects. In particular, for active research areas such as roles of PET in brain tumors or epilepsy, practitioners should rely on more focused and current material, in addition to this book, for latest information. Furthermore, given the needed tradeoff between readability and expansiveness, several topics have been excluded or minimized. For example, the authors could have elaborated more on radionuclide treatment as well as non-FDG PET radiotracers in oncology, especially the ones in routine clinical use in many countries outside the United States.
In sum, Essentials of Nuclear Medicine Imaging is an essential, well written introductory Nuclear Medicine textbook that should be part of both nuclear medicine physicians’ and neuroradiologists’ collections. The five previous editions over the past 3 decades serve as vivid evidence of how well received this book has been among Nuclear Medicine physicians over the years. With many new updates in this edition, it has become an even better book, suitable for anyone from a resident who wants to know more about Nuclear Medicine to an experienced Nuclear Medicine physician looking for a handy reference textbook for everyday practice.