Edited by Mark Eisenberg and Ossama Al-Mefty, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA, 1999.
Surgery in the region of the cavernous sinus has received a great deal of attention recently in spite of the relative rarity of all lesions occurring in this area. The book is timely because so little information is published concerning tumors and other abnormalities that occur in this region.
The book begins with an excellent review of anatomy and embryology and supplements this with radiographic anatomy and vascular anatomy. The section on neuro-ophthalmology also has a major anatomic basis, and this part of the book can be read to advantage by any neurologist or neurosurgeon. Then the emphasis of the book changes to surgical approaches. Surgery for aneurysms of the cavernous sinus and nonsurgical management of vascular lesions are both described in great detail. This is currently the best presentation available in the literature. The management of carotid cavernous fistula is covered extremely well. The chapters on management of cavernous sinus meningioma focus mostly upon the surgical procedures. The fault of this publication and virtually all other writing on this subject is that indications for surgery and outcomes for patients are not described in much detail. The book is a useful technological advance but does not add much to our understanding of indications for surgery and implications of surgery for patients.
The chapters on nonmeningeal neoplasms are very interesting because most of these entities are quite rare and will not be encountered by a practicing surgeon very often. Having a resource like this where they are all described, albeit briefly, is very useful. The same is true of the descriptions of the inflammatory lesions that are little more common. This book is a useful addition to the neurosurgical literature. Virtually all neurosurgeons, neurologists, and neuro-ophthalmologists will find it of value. It is a useful reference for neuroradiologists and otolaryngologists as well. Surgical techniques are described in enough detail to make them useful for the experienced neurosurgeon. The major shortcoming of the book is the lack of emphasis upon outcome of management for patients. Nevertheless, the book is extremely well done, is very thorough, and is illustrated quite well. It will be a valuable reference for all those interested in the field of skull base surgery.