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The Textbook of Spinal Surgery (Third ed)

K. H. Bridwell, R. L. Dewald pp. 2112 Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 3rd Revised edition 2011  ISBN: 978-0781786201

It has been 13 years since the last edition of this classic textbook. There are two volumes. The most basic concepts and common spinal problems are covered in Volume 1. More advanced spinal problems and procedures are in Volume 2. Compared with other spinal surgery textbooks, the size of these two volumes is relatively small and I appreciate the effort the editors have made to compress the content so that all the important topics of spinal surgery are included without taking up excessive shelf space!

Spine surgeons looking for the current standards of care and state-of-the-art surgical techniques will find them here. Trainees will find this textbook very simple and easy to understand. The basics that every spine surgeon should know - biomechanics and anatomic approaches - are well covered.

Sections I and II include the basic requirements of modern spine surgery: spinal cord monitoring, bone graft choices, medical complications and the importance of overall saggital and coronal alignment in spinal deformity patients.

I especially enjoyed Chapter 1: The evolution of spine surgery, since the second edition of The Textbook of Spinal Surgery. It describes the developments of spinal surgery that I witnessed during my training and puts them into historical context.

The section on the degenerative cervical spine covers all you need to know in practicing cervical spine surgery. I treasure the Chapter 35: Revision cervical spine surgery.

Volume 2 contains more advanced topics. This volume is suitable for more experienced surgeons dealing with more complicated disease such as scoliosis, adult spinal deformity, dysplastic and congenital deformities, paralytic deformity, post-surgical deformity, trauma and spinal infection & tumour. Last but not least, the final section discusses complications. In my ten years in spine surgery, I have come across some of these complications. This chapter is a good guide to me to deal with my future complications!

Compared with the last edition, there is great improvement in the context. The information is very concise. I appreciate the editor has paid a lot of effort to limit the number of references in each chapter. It helps the reader to focus on the classic papers only. The colour illustrations, table and figures are more eye-catching than before. The new edition has included many of the latest developments. However, there is still room for improvement, in particular: non-operative treatments, such as radiofrequency neurotomy for pain management; and cervical disc arthroplasty. They are becoming common procedures, and readers probably expect more on the surgical techniques and practical on-table considerations of performing these procedures.

I highly recommend this book, not only to spine specialists but also to general orthopaedic surgeons and trainees in orthopaedics or neurosurgery. The practical guidance in approaching spinal problems and the technical advice in performing spinal surgery are valid worldwide, not only in weatlhy countries. Compared with similar textbooks, The Textbook of Spinal Surgery is a good first choice due to its usefulness and comprehensiveness.

HT Chow

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