Full Reviews

AOSpine Masters Series, Volume 8: Back Pain

Roberto Vialle L, ed. Wang JC, Lamartina C, guest eds. AOSpine Masters Series, Volume 8: Back Pain. Thieme; 2016; 230 pp; 133 ill; $119.99

Cover of Roberto Vialle

AOSpine Masters Series is a collection of 10 volumes covering various topics of the spine. This review will cover Volume 8: Back Pain. One of the most common chief complaints encountered by our family physicians and orthopedic surgeons is back pain. At times, treating back pain is very challenging to our healthcare providers and places a significant social and economic burden on our healthcare system. This book reports that the prevalence of back pain ranges from 70–85%.

This publication is organized into 16 chapters covering a broad range of topics that include social aspects, physical exam, imaging, and treatment. There are also specific chapters dedicated to specific pathology, including that of the sacroiliac joints, myopathies, neuromuscular disease, and infection. Additional chapters discuss back pain in pediatric and adult populations.  Within each chapter, the subtopics are clearly identified and tables are nicely labeled. One neat feature of each chapter is the “pearls and pitfalls,” which provides bolded teaching points.

The chapter on imaging provides a broad overview of indications, imaging techniques, and modalities available for back pain. The chapter provides a few pictorial examples of pathology affecting the spine.  The imaging discussed in this chapter would be useful for the general practitioner, as it explains the algorithm behind radiographic work-up of back pain.  This chapter also further explains the pros and cons of imaging modalities such as plain films and MRI.  The images are of good size and quality.

At the end of each chapter, the authors cite the references used, making it easy to correlate the chapter content. The majority of the references are from peer-reviewed journals. One good feature is the authors’ highlighted “5 …

Fundamentals of Neurology: An Illustrated Guide, 2nd Edition

Mattle H, Mumenthaler M. Fundamentals of Neurology: An Illustrated Guide. 2nd ed. Thieme; 2017; 456 pp; 567 ill; $79.99

Cover of Mattle and Mumenthaler

Fundamentals of Neurology: An Illustrated Guide is an introductory textbook of clinical neurology. It provides a comprehensive overview of common neurologic and muscular disorders, with numerous supporting illustrations that serve to further clarify the content of this book. The intended audiences are medical students, residents, and practicing clinicians. Indeed, the textbook’s format, concise language, and straightforward illustrations will appeal to physicians of all training levels.

The textbook’s organization is easy to follow, starting from the first page where each chapter is listed and assigned a color that is used for the remainder of the book to designate the corresponding pages of the chapter. Furthermore, the material of each chapter is divided in a way that is easy to digest through the use of sections, which begin by summarizing the key points, and subsections, which have the important ideas highlighted. This approach allows the reader to use the textbook either for detailed studying or for a quick reference. Moreover, the tables, diagrams, and radiologic images are of high quality and are well annotated. In fact, if time is a limiting factor, the reader can still gain a strong understanding of the most important information by just reviewing the provided illustrations.

The textbook’s content primarily provides a clinical approach to understanding various neurologic disorders, with only a superficial focus on diagnostic radiology, especially when compared with more well-known textbooks written for the field of neuroradiology. While the initial chapters concentrate on techniques for obtaining a good patient history and physical exam, as well as ordering appropriate ancillary tests, the second half of the book discusses symptoms and common neurologic disorders in a way that neuroradiologists will also find relevant. For example, there …

MR Neuroimaging: Brain, Spine, Peripheral Nerves

Forsting M, Jansen O. MR Neuroimaging: Brain, Spine, Peripheral Nerves. Thieme; 2017; 600 pp; 1399 ill; $224.99

Cover of Forsting and Jansen

MR Neuroimaging: Brain, Spine, Peripheral Nerves by Michael Forsting and Olav Jansen is an English translation of the second German edition of MRT des Zentralnervensystems, which was published in 2014. This 600-page hardcover book intends to serve as a reference manual for neuroimaging interpretation.

As suggested by the title, the book is divided into 3 sections: 1) brain, 2) spinal cord, and 3) peripheral nervous system.

The first 2 sections have an introductory chapter on anatomy. MRI appearance of different structures is the focus, with several illustrations that lay a good foundation for the material to come. The chapters conclude with an abridged description of normal variants, which, if more inclusive, could have further benefitted a practitioner less familiar with neuroimaging.

The chapter on brain anatomy is followed by 9 others covering a broad range of common and unusual conditions. Pediatric neuroimaging is dealt with in a dedicated chapter.

Imaging of the spine is covered in 6 further chapters.

The third section includes a concise discussion of magnetic resonance neurography and neuropathies in the final 8 pages.

Most pathological conditions are described under the subheadings of epidemiology, clinical manifestations and treatment, pathology, MRI findings, and differential diagnosis. This systematic approach, paired with a straightforward index, makes it very easy to navigate the text.

The highlight of this book is the excellent quality of the images it uses to depict the pathology described. Multiple sequences and planes are routinely used to characterize the findings. The annotations are descriptive and easily comprehensible. The authors often discuss the best techniques and ideal sequences for optimal evaluation of imaging findings. Most pages are studded with boxes labeled “Note,” “Tips and Tricks,” or “Pitfall” and highlighted …

Elastography: A Practical Approach

Barr RG. Elastography: A Practical Approach. Thieme; 2016; 200 pp; 400 ill; $119.00

Cover of Barr

This comprehensive book encompasses the principles and techniques used in performing elastography under ultrasound guidance. The stiffness or softness of tissue measured by this innovative technique aids radiologists and clinicians in diagnosing various disease conditions, including cancer and inflammation. The changes (including desmoplastic reaction) induced in tissues due to these pathologic processes alter the compressibility and deformation of the surrounding stroma, which are what elastography measures. Given that stiff lesions are more likely to be malignant, the implications of this application can be huge in terms of lesion characterization and management.

The book begins with an introduction to elastography, including shear-wave and strain; the former provides a quantitative assessment and the latter a qualitative assessment of elastography. The physics and technical background are explained in simple and reader-friendly terms. The techniques required to obtain optimal images with the various methods are discussed in a language that is easy to understand. The text is accurate and concise. Case studies that demonstrate the targeted use of elastographic findings by specific pathologic processes are discussed. Important points, such as precompression, descriptions of the imaging patterns, limitations, and artifacts, are covered for ultrasound machines provided by common vendors in the market. There are many illustrations and diagrams to enhance and enrich readers’ experience. The images are appropriately labeled, helpful, and easily interpretable. The references are comprehensive, current, accurate, and obtained from scholarly publications. Two of the unique features of this book are the “tips and tricks” and the “artifacts and pitfalls” sections at the end of each chapter.

The chapters are written by leading authorities around the world on the subject of elastography and its applications in various organ systems of the body. The chapters include step-by-step descriptions of the …

Vertigo and Disequilibrium: A Practical Guide to Diagnosis and Management, 2nd Edition

Weber PC. Vertigo and Disequilibrium: A Practical Guide to Diagnosis and Management. 2nd ed. Thieme; 2016; 248 pp; 167 ill; $129.99

Cover of Weber

The second edition of Vertigo and Disequilibrium: A Practical Guide to Diagnosis and Management, authored and edited by Dr. Peter C. Weber, takes on the challenging task of summarizing the diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment of the various etiologies of vertigo and disequilibrium in a mere 230 pages. Although vertigo and disequilibrium are relatively common complaints, their work-up is a daunting and intimidating task for most physicians. Dr. Weber describes the vestibular system as a poorly understood “black box” because of limited exposure to its anatomy and pathophysiology during medical school and residency training. This book successfully addresses common misunderstandings and lays out a systematic approach to the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of various etiologies accounting for vertigo and disequilibrium. The chapters are short, concise, clear, well-written, well-organized, and supplemented with helpful figures and tables, as well as updated references for more in-depth reading. The book ends with an appendix of practical frequently asked questions, which would be of use to both physicians and patients alike. The supplemental online videos, which have been expanded from the first edition, provide examples of common procedures, treatment maneuvers, physical examination techniques, and signs.

The first 6 chapters lay the groundwork for the rest of the book by succinctly summarizing important aspects of the medical history, physical examination, computerized testing, radiology work-up, anatomy, physiology, and laboratory testing in patients with vertigo and disequilibrium. At the beginning of Chapter 1, Dr. Weber stresses the paramount importance of a medical history: “The diagnosis of a patient with vertigo or dizziness can almost always be ascertained 80% of the time by taking an accurate history.” In the very first paragraph of the book, the author …

Spine Surgery: Tricks of the Trade, 3rd Edition

Vaccaro AR, Albert TJ, eds. Spine Surgery: Tricks of the Trade. 3rd ed. Thieme; 2016; 462 pp; 400 ill; $199.99

Cover of Vaccaro

Summarizing and organizing all aspects of spine surgery is a daunting and arduous task. The spinal column can provide a variety of pathology to the surgeon while offering particular vulnerability in the trauma setting, necessitating urgent or emergent attention. This text is authored by 2 of the most reputable spine surgeons in the world, which offers the reader some confidence as they navigate through the chapters. The other contributors are also recognized as experts in the subject category they are describing.

The text consists of 21 distinct sections providing organization and appropriate categorization of all aspects of spine surgery. Within these 21 sections, 112 chapters highlight the finer details of each topic and procedure. The chapters are each very easy to read and understand, no matter the level of one’s training or discipline. These chapters are all structured with a similar foundation and schematic so that the readers of this text can anticipate the areas of focus from page to page.  Uniformly, each of the 112 chapters includes a description of the procedure discussed, indications/contraindications, and special considerations. Each also highlights key procedural steps and shares the experiences of other surgeons to help avoid pitfalls and ensure technical completion of the surgical objective.

As an owner of both the second and third editions, I can personally attest to the quality improvements of this resource. Color illustrations, charts, and photographs are featured in every chapter, as opposed to only black and white pictures in the previous edition. Moreover, this edition provides online access to a multitude of videos that demonstrate the technical aspects of these operations, which were filmed in the operating room or on cadavers. Furthermore, the scope of …

MCQ Based Review of Neuroradiology-Update, Category–Brain, 500 MCQs For ABR Core, Certifying and CAQ Exams

Takhtani D. MCQ Based Review of Neuroradiology-Update. iTunes; 2015; 636 pp and ill; $12.99

Cover of Takhtani

MCQ Based Review of Neuroradiology is an innovative collection of 500 multiple choice questions (MCQs) dealing with a wide variety of subjects including pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, neuroimaging, and physics. It is intended as a review for radiologists in training planning to take their core, certifying, or CAQ examinations or for practicing radiologists who desire a case- and question-based neuroradiology review.

The questions are divided into 3 groups based on difficulty level. Each chapter begins with a series of images followed by several MCQs and finally by answer pages that cover the main topic and ancillary information. The images are of high quality and are well annotated, the questions are clear and well thought out, and the articles are well-written and provide reliable and up-to-date information. Furthermore, the book is incredibly interactive. Most of the terms are linked to the Internet and to other parts of the book, you can search within the book, highlight, add notes, and even listen to the text.

Having recently taken the ABR’s Core Examination, I can attest to the usefulness of this book in preparing for the new exam format. Particularly in the area of physics as it pertains to neuroradiology, this book presents practical and clinically relevant scenarios that come up in everyday practice and the explanations are coherent and easy to follow.

In summary, in this increasingly digital world, this book has many features that make it a very dynamic and interactive learning experience, and is a valuable educational tool for any radiologist desiring to sharpen their diagnostic abilities in neuroimaging.…

Interventional Oncology: Principles and Practice of Image-Guided Cancer Therapy, 2nd Edition

Geschwind J-F, Soulen MC, eds. Interventional Oncology: Principles and Practice of Image-Guided Cancer Therapy. 2nd ed. Cambridge Medicine; 2016; 346 pp; 94 ill; $199.00

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Interventional oncology (IO) is a rapidly advancing and ever-changing field. So important has IO become in the treatment of patients with cancer that it is the fourth pillar of cancer care, with the traditional 3 being surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.1 Diagnostic and interventional radiologists both play important roles in the clinical evaluation of patients and participate in multidisciplinary tumor boards. Participation in these boards is a must for the diagnostic and interventional radiologist alike. It is no longer sufficient for radiologist to merely show images and perform anatomic measurements of tumor response; rather, a thorough understanding of the disease process and multidisciplinary therapeutic options is required to add true value to the discussion.

Traditionally, IO has been thought of in the narrow scope of liver-directed therapy, such as that for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or liver-predominant colorectal metastases. Now, IO encompasses bone ablation, prostate ablation, treatment of lung cancer, primary and adjunctive treatment of renal cell carcinoma, and a host of palliative care procedures.

This book showcases the breadth of pathology and the wide-ranging tools that interventional radiology and IO have at their disposal to treat patients with cancer. Specialists from around the world have contributed and authors are the definitive authorities on their topics (e.g., Riccardo Lencioni authors the chapter on the assessment and triage of hepatocellular carcinoma, and Peter Mueller and Debra Gervais author the chapter on the management of small renal masses).

Organized into a total of 10 sections, this book first discusses principles behind therapies (e.g., how Y-90 or radiofrequency ablation works) and then discusses specific modalities for the treatment of specific diseases (e.g., Y-90 for colorectal liver metastases and ablation …

Neurosurgical Operative Atlas: Spine and Peripheral Nerves, 3rd Edition

Wolfla CE, Resnick DK. Neurosurgical Operative Atlas: Spine and Peripheral Nerves. 3rd ed. Thieme; 2016; 546 pp; 874 ill; $269.99

Wolfla and Resnick cover

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 …

Imaging Anatomy: Chest, Abdomen, Pelvis, 2nd Edition

Federle MP, Rosado-de-Christenson ML, Raman SP, Carter BW, Woodward PJ, Shaaban AM. Imaging Anatomy: Chest, Abdomen, Pelvis. 2nd ed. Elsevier; 2016; 1192 pp; $329.99

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For anyone predominantly or exclusively involved in neuroradiology, having a high-quality, well-illustrated, and readily available text covering the chest, abdomen, and pelvis is desirable. Those parts of the body have a nasty way of occasionally making the interpretations of spine imaging more difficult. Enter the second edition of Imaging Anatomy: Chest, Abdomen, Pelvis (2017), published by Elsevier and edited by Drs. Federle, Rosado-de-Christenson, Raman, Carter, Woodward, and Shaaban. As with all the books in this series, the drawings, the imaging, and the bullet point written material in this hardcover book is outstanding in quality.

The chest section is divided into 16 chapters, the abdomen into 17 chapters, and the pelvis into 8 chapters. The emphasis throughout, as the title implies, is on anatomy; however, in some sections (e.g., in the abdomen) there is more pathologic imaging than in others. Nearly all of the material is pertinent to our interpretation of spine imaging when large fields of view are included (or even if the FOVs are narrow). Nowhere is this more pertinent than when viewing thoracic lumbar spine imaging (CTs in particular) and analyzing the abdominal contents when required. Here would be a ready reference to help resolve questions related to anatomy and pathology incidentally seen on neuroimaging. The same can be said for the imaging of the pelvis. Here (as in the entire book) the illustrations of the anatomy are outstanding. These help to further one’s appreciation of the accompanying CT anatomy, although MR and US are included to a lesser extent. There are areas that will not be troublesome when viewing spine or lumbosacral plexus studies, such as detailed imaging anatomy of the heart …