Decision making in Spinal Care is another product of the prolific Anderson-Vaccaro lineage. The volume follows the whole of ‘Spine’ in 15 chapters and then gives a 16th chapter covering miscellaneous topics such as spinal cord stimulation, bone grafts, bracing, penetration injuries to the spine and spine emergencies which would not have fitted-in elsewhere.
A particular strength is the layout of the chapters, consistent throughout the whole text. Each chapter is nicely laid out with a brief preamble followed by a classification and ‘work up’ encompassing history, examination, imaging, other diagnostic tests, treatment, outcome and complications. Then there is a useful bibliography, referencing the major papers in the field. In addition to the bare citation, the authors nicely provide a line or two describing the paper’s overall content.
The presentation style is didactic and very systematic which gives it to a wide target readership. It could be equally valuable to experienced surgeons as a quick reference as to surgeons in training and allied health professionals, in need of a concise but comprehensive account of spinal disorders (with the caveat that a certain degree of core knowledge and skill is assumed).
As a neurosurgeon with a ‘Complex Spine’ interest, I will find this a handy book to have on my desk. It covers the current management of spinal disorders very well. It is strong on the key principles of decision-making, and provides the references for those who require greater depth and detail. Whilst the book does not cross any frontiers in terms of complex techniques or scientific understanding, this was never its remit.
Even as spinal neurosurgery texts go, you would not find this to be much of page-turner if you mistakenly took it with you on holiday. However, all in all, the authors have comfortably attained their goal: as a quick reference for spinal disorders, this book certainly hits the mark and, as such, I would recommend it.