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Pain Review

Section Editor(s): White, PaulMcKay, Warren R. MD

doi: 10.1213/ane.0b013e3181b7c638
Book, Multimedia, and Meeting Reviews: Media Reviews

Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care; UCSF Medical Center; San Francisco, California;

Pain Review Steven D. Waldman, MD, JD. Philadelphia: Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc, 2009. ISBN 978-1-4160-5893-9. 780 pages, $79.95.

The textbook Pain Review, by Steven D. Waldman, MD, JD, was written with the stated intention of being a “study guide for certifying or recertifying anesthesiologists in pain management.” The author explains that when he began studying for the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) recertification examination in pain management, there was no textbook available to facilitate preparation for the test. One of Dr. Waldman’s goals for the book was to include all the material necessary to cover the entire specialty of pain management—no small task. The material was to be organized into small, manageable, “packets of information” with illustrations included in most chapters. The book was not meant to be a treatise of the pain specialty, but rather a user-friendly, encyclopedic list of all the essential components of pain management.

The text is divided into 9 separate sections: 1) Anatomy, 2) Neuroanatomy, 3) Painful Conditions, 4) Diagnostic Testing, 5) Nerve Blocks, Therapeutic Interventions, and Advanced Interventional Pain Management Techniques, 6) Physical and Behavioral Modalities, 7) Pharmacology, 8) Special Patient Populations, and 9) Ethical and Legal Issues in Pain Management. In addition, there is a comprehensive review test consisting of 767 questions.

As stated in the Preface to the book, all areas of pain management covered in the ABA certification test for pain management are covered. If transporting a 761-page book is not to your liking, purchasers of the book are entitled to the online version at

The first 2 sections cover anatomy with vignettes relating to pain management issues. The third section includes most of the painful conditions one is likely to encounter in a pain practice. The section on diagnostic testing includes explanations of radiographic techniques and written pain assessment tools. The section covering nerve blocks, injections, and interventional pain management techniques is stylistically written for an operator familiar with the material. The brevity is welcomed in the physical and behavioral modalities section. Initially, the pharmacology section seemed lacking in depth and detail. However, this book was written as a review text, not a tome meant for the exhaustive study of the pharmacokinetic and dynamics of analgesic medications. The section on ethical and legal issues is timely and necessary.

The chapters are typically short and augmented by single authorship. In general, most of the terminology is up to date. Figures are sometimes too simplistic to demonstrate the intended point. For example, on page 64, in the chapter discussing thoracic dermatomes, an errant figure showing cervical dermatomes is displayed. As of the writing of this review, the same error was displayed in the online version! Fortunately, the online version can be easily corrected. The lack of color in the figures of the book detracts from some of the points being made in the text. The tables are well organized, using numerals or bullets for ordering. However, peer-reviewed references are few in number and often refer to the author’s own work.

In conclusion, this book provides the reader with a clinically useful overview of the field of pain management. However, it is not intended to be used for teaching the fundamental techniques involved in modern pain management. Pain Review is a well-written and comprehensive textbook that would be of value to anesthesiologists preparing for the ABA recertification examination in pain management.

Warren R. McKay, MD

Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care

UCSF Medical Center

San Francisco, California

© 2009 International Anesthesia Research Society