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The second edition of this basic textbook gives a clear and concise introduction to neurosurgery. It is mainly written by one author with contributions from his neurological and neurosurgical colleagues at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. The text is well written, beginning with an excellent chapter on neurological assessment and examination, and proceeding to covering the whole of neurosurgery in 21 chapters. There are a large number of illustrations with good quality reproduction of imaging. Neurosurgical controversies are well argued with balanced approaches to difficult areas—for example, the treatment of spontaneous intracerebral haematomas. Advances in some treatments such as gene and immunotherapy are well covered, but the sections on other new techniques—for example, endoscopy, image-guidance and interventional radiology are brief.
I have no major criticisms, but the chapter on head injury could have had more detail on head injury as a component of multiple head injury (there is no mention of advanced trauma life support) and the section on minor head injury does not mention alcohol or drugs as indication for admission. Also, the book would benefit from some more recent references.
The review of the first edition of the book published in thisJournal in 1991 suggested that the author preferred intracranial work as he expressed less strong opinions regarding spinal surgery. However, I think the second edition has redressed the balance. The author now includes anterior approaches to the thoracic and lumbar spine. The section on AIDS is still brief, and the driving regulations relate to Australian law. Overall, however, although the author admits the book describes practice in the Asia-Pacific rim region, it is equally applicable to European neurosurgery. In summary, I enjoyed reading the book and considered that it gives an accurate and useful guide to neurosurgical management. I would strongly recommend it to medical students, general and orthopaedic surgeons, and junior neurosurgical trainees.
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