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SICOT e-Newsletter

Issue No. 11 - August 2009

Book Review

Spinal Disorders: Fundamentals of Diagnosis and Treatment

Edited by Norbert Boos and Max Aebi
Springer Verlag, Berlin – Heidelberg – New York, 2008
ISBN: 978-3-540-40511-5
Hardcover, €: xxx; pp 1166; 274 Figures, 190 Tables

The textbook, Spinal Disorders: Fundamentals of Diagnosis and Treatment, is intended as a reference guide not only for spine specialists but also for general orthopaedic surgeons, scientists, physiotherapists and other health care executives interested in the spine. Spinal disorders are among the most common medical conditions with enormous socioeconomic consequences. In addition, spinal surgery is still one of the most rapidly growing areas in clinical medicine. Therefore, a basic knowledge of the state of the art of diagnosis and treatment of spinal disorders is required and is presented in this comprehensive textbook, which integrates evidence-based knowledge in the up-to-date literature and decade-long personal experience of the editors.

Norbert Boos and Max Aebi have approached chapter authors with whom they personally collaborated and share a common philosophy on the diagnosis and treatment approach to spinal disorders thus the different chapters could be homogeneous put together in this really outstanding textbook.

The book is divided into 40 chapters that cover every topic on fundamentals and basic principles in diagnosis and treatment of spinal disorders, starting with the history of spinal disorders and basic science. The topic patient assessment includes history and physical examination, imaging studies, spinal injections and neurological assessment with neurophysiological investigations. After a comprehensible description of the different surgical approaches the peri- and postoperative management, including postoperative pain management, is well presented.

The superior topic, degenerative disorders, includes the aspects disc herniation and radiculopathy, lumbar spinal stenosis, degenerative lumbar spondylosis and the non-specific low back pain, giving consideration to the increasingly aging population with a greater need for the treatment of degenerative spinal disorders. The topic spinal deformities and malformations contains chapters about idiopathic, neuromuscular, congenital and degenerative scoliosis, a chapter about spondylolisthesis and juvenile kyphosis and even a chapter about malformations of the spinal cord. Diagnosis and treatment of cervical and thoracolumbar spinal injuries are presented together with a chapter about osteoporotic spine fractures. The last big topic is tumours and inflammation, closing with treatment of postoperative complications and finally providing some information about outcome assessment in spinal surgery.

Drs Boos and Aebi have created a particular form in this book to give the reader a thorough grounding in the basic knowledge and general principles of spinal disorders. The didactic concept of all chapters follows three basic principles of sustainable learning, i.e.: (1) less is more, (2) repetition enhances sustained learning, and (3) case studies, which are an efficient and complementary means of learning. Each chapter starts with the core messages, going on to an in-depth reading of each chapter. Marginal notes and a short recapitulation facilitate the learning by repetition. Outstanding figures illustrate and exemplify essential knowledge, whereas tables summarise important facts such as classifications, treatment objectives and indications for treatment. Special recapitulations summarise the essential teaching objectives and provide a quick overview for the busy reader. Finally, references and key articles provide a library for further reading.

The editors tackle every aspect of the spine in a well balanced way. The book fulfils the intended purpose of being a comprehensive, new, easily readable textbook, a teaching tool that focuses systematically on the fundamentals and basic principles of diagnosis and treatment in spinal disorders in a standardised manner. For this reason, the textbook, Spinal Disorders: Fundamentals of Diagnosis and Treatment, edited by Norbert Boos and Max Aebi, can be strongly recommended to everybody interested in the spine.

Review written by Dr Peter Raab