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Regional Nerve Blocks in Anesthesia and Pain Therapy

Albrecht, Eric MD

doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000001586
Books, Multimedia, and Meeting Reviews

Published ahead of print September 15, 2016.

Department of Anesthesiology, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland,

Published ahead of print September 15, 2016.

Regional anesthesia and interventional pain therapy are two major subspecialties that are provided worldwide to patients. The arrival of high-resolution ultrasound in daily practice contributed to the dissemination of regional anesthetic and interventional pain techniques. Along with the scientific knowledge that is exponentially published, the physician struggles to remain up to date to provide the best care to the patient. Fortunately, Dr. Jankovic and Dr. Peng, two major experts in the fields of regional anesthesia, chronic pain medicine, and anatomic sciences, collected all this information and successfully presented it in this book. With Regional Nerve Blocks in Anesthesia and Pain Therapy, the anesthesiologist, the pain specialist, the general practitioner, and any medical doctor interested in chronic pain medicine will discover a day-to-day companion, because this comprehensive textbook provides an extensive theoretic and practical knowledge on regional anesthesia and pain therapy, totally dedicated to ease the quotidian practice. Indeed, compared with previous editions, this fourth edition published in 2015 by Springer (ISBN: 978-3-319-05130-7) has incorporated all the ultrasound-guided procedures in addition to the more traditional ones based on anatomic landmarks or nerve stimulators.

This major textbook of more than 1000 pages with a neutral blue hard cover is printed on very high-quality paper and is very pleasant to flip through. The book, which also exists in an electronic version (ISBN: 978-3-319-05131-4), contains 73 chapters under 12 sections: General Considerations, Head and Neck Region, Blocks in Cervical Region, Shoulder Region, Blocks of the Upper Extremity, Elbow and Wrist, Thoracic Region, Lumbosacral Spine, Abdominal and Pelvic Region, Lower Extremity Blocks, Lower Extremity Musculoskeletal Region, and Regional Blocks for Children. Richly illustrated with full-color pictures of anatomic dissections, ultrasound images, and drawings, this book presents each topic methodically, thoroughly, and precisely. Moreover, all the procedures are fully detailed and lead the physician to a stepwise approach to perform safely and efficiently. Therefore, the translation from the theoretic concept to the clinical practice is easy and straightforward. Moreover, essential guidelines for the application of regional anesthesia and pain medicine and numerous examples of medicolegal documentation are provided. In addition to all the ultrasound-guided nerve blocks that have been recently described (eg, ultrasound-guided superior laryngeal or occipital nerve blocks), the reader will also find chapters on radiofrequency treatment, lumbar facet joint injection, lumbar percutaneous facet denervation, or even lumbosacral epiduroscopy.

Nevertheless, there are two points that could have been improved: the varying quality of iconography and the consistency in the organization among the different chapters. Sometimes, there are so many pictures and figures that it looks like the authors could not choose which ones to present to support the text and help the reader understand the topic, not to mention that the pixels are sometimes visible. Although the authors state in the Preface that each chapter shares the same architecture (definition, anatomy, indications, contraindications, technique, drug choice and dosage, side effects, potential complications, and medicolegal documentation), many chapters should have been properly edited to meet this wish. Moreover, the structure of the book does not always follow a logical approach. How else can we explain that supraclavicular and interscalene brachial plexus blocks are described in a chapter named “Blocks Above the Clavicle,” whereas infraclavicular and axillary brachial plexus blocks are described in two different chapters, instead of one named “Blocks Below the Clavicle”? Some chapters are irrelevant because of redundancy or lack of information. Indeed the chapter on pediatric blocks mostly repeats the content of previous chapters, and the chapter on the obturator nerve block contains fewer than 40 lines. Finally, and unfortunately, this comprehensive textbook misses certain important topics such as spinal cord stimulation or intrathecal pump infusion, even if they might not be covered by the title.

Despite these few weaknesses, Regional Nerve Blocks in Anesthesia and Pain Therapy presents a comprehensive content with information that is readily accessible and includes detailed yet easy-to-follow descriptions of regional anesthesia procedures as well as indications on drug choices and dosages. Available at a price of $279 (USD) on the Internet for the printed version, Dr. Jankovic and Dr. Peng have to be congratulated for their extensive and outstanding work that will help the novice learner build solid foundations and help the more experienced physician keep up to date. Definitely, there is no other such exhaustive work available on the market.

Eric Albrecht, MDDepartment of AnesthesiologyLausanne University HospitalLausanne,

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