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Stell & Maran's Head & Neck Surgery (4th edition)

Edited by JC Watkinson, MN Gaze and J Wilson Arnold


Review by Garfield Davies, FRCS

When Stell and Maran wrote their book on Head and Neck Surgery virtually thirty years ago it was regarded as the vade mecum for all junior doctors in training. There was a fifteen-year gap between the second and third editions and now a seven-year gap between the third and the present published volume. This is in a larger, clearer format and is just over 200 pages long. The line drawings and clinical photographs have been well produced, but some of the earlier drawings look somewhat tired and need to be updated. It is very difficult to encompass a whole range of skills and expertise into one volume, but the authors have to be complimented on their achievement in giving common sense advice.

As one would expect, in attempting to cover virtually the entire field there are minor discrepancies which however do not detract from the value of the book. All the surgical techniques are rather super-ficially covered and there is no detailed description of the anatomy and physiology of the vocal folds.

Electro-myography and videostroboscopy of the larynx are barely mentioned for these are important tests in vocal fold pathology and function. There is a short paragraph only on arytenoid adduction and a far longer appraisal of reinovation techniques in vocal fold paralysis - a method which does not have, so far, great universal success. The term vocal cord rather than vocal fold is used and, doubtless, this will be noted in further editions. The chapters on speech and swallowing, neck dissection and reconstruction and those on thyroid disease are excellent. The 'bullet point' summaries are also useful for revision purposes and the bibliography is, although not exhaustive, useful. However, in future editions I feel this could be expanded and recomm-endations given on other books that give in-depth, technical details of surgical procedures.

This tome is an excellent primer for the surgical Registrar and gives a balanced view and essential facts and knowledge in helping the trainee to grasp the fundamentals in the management of head and neck surgical problems.



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