Wolfla CE, Resnick DK. Neurosurgical Operative Atlas: Spine and Peripheral Nerves. 3rd ed. Thieme; 2016; 546 pp; 874 ill; $269.99
Neurosurgical Operative Atlas is a comprehensive tutorial on current spinal and peripheral nerve surgery written by a group of authors mainly from the world of neurosurgery. The sections covering surgery of the spine give a comprehensive overview of topics such as decompression, instrumentation, and fusion. Further specialty topics such as tumor excisions and vascular malformations are also covered. The section on peripheral nerves mainly covers surgical treatment of upper and lower extremity nerve compression syndromes, as well as treatments of brachial plexus injuries.
The organizational structure, teaching value, and accuracy of the information presented is a strength of this book. Each chapter is organized into sections discussing indications for treatment, patient selection, treatment options, and preoperative planning for various procedures. The subjects are comprehensively covered without getting mired in the minutiae of various pathologies and concepts. It can serve as both a reference and a primary guide for reviewing operative techniques; hence, as a teaching text, it is quite useful. The accuracy of the information presented is as expected for a textbook published with the support of a reputable organization such as the American Association for Neurological Surgeons. The references cited in every chapter are invariably from peer-reviewed journals and leading textbooks in the various disciplines of surgery covered.
The images and illustrations presented in this text are of excellent quality. The illustrations are not always as visually appealing as those that can be found in other texts, but they serve as a strong supplement to the written portions. The greatest strength of this book, however, is the generally outstanding series of intraoperative images provided. The editors and authors have managed to acquire images of great quality, which is a rare feat, as good photographic imaging of an operative field is hard to obtain. The figure legends are suitably descriptive and complement the figures themselves well.
In comparison with other books that deal with this subject, Neurosurgical Operative Atlas: Spine and Peripheral Nerves provides superior images but serves less as an actual atlas and more as a surgical technique guide. The emphasis is placed on discussing the preparation and execution of procedures rather than on providing figures and images of applied surgical anatomy.
Personally, I would recommend this book to my colleagues in the surgical field; however, I would not strongly recommend it for a neuroradiology audience, as it primarily focuses on surgical technique rather than applied anatomy. A neuroradiologist would more likely be better served by a text focusing more on the application of imaging and its relation to surgical decision-making in the pre-, peri-, and postoperative period. However, it can still serve as a useful supplement to the radiologist who is trying to expand his or her knowledge and understanding of what goes on in the operating room.
With the increasingly esoteric nature of various medical specialties and subspecialties, it is becoming increasingly challenging for diagnostic and ancillary specialty service professionals such as pathologists, radiologists, neurologists, and even physiatrists to keep up with the latest concepts involved in neurological surgical procedures. Reviewing relevant literature from the surgical side of patient care is of utmost importance when one is part of a multidisciplinary care team in today’s health care environment. Therefore, it is helpful for the neuroradiologist both in training and in practice to be familiar with neurosurgical procedures. Neurosurgical Operative Atlas is a well-written, well-edited and illustrated book primarily for surgeons to prepare and execute operative procedures. While it probably could more accurately be billed as a surgical technique text rather than a surgical atlas, it can be a useful adjunct for the neuroradiologist wishing to learn more about the discipline as a whole.