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Textbook of Voice DisordersTextbook of Voice Disorders

Editors: Albert L Merati and Steven A Bielamowicz
Plural Publishing, San Diego 2007


Reviewed by John Rubin MD FACS RCS, March 2008

Textbook of Voice Disorders, edited by Merati and Bielamowicz, is a compact text (262 pages) of 18 chapters. It is divided into four sections: Anatomy and Physiology; Diagnostic Procedures in Laryngology; Principles of Therapy; Disorders of the Larynx.

The editors' aim is for it to serve as a core textbook for graduate course work in speech language pathology, for trainees in otolaryngology and for certification maintenance by consultant ENT surgeons. I do believe that it fulfils this aim.

To that end each chapter presents core information, boxed-in key points and review questions, the answers being supplied in an appendix.

I found the book to be slightly weighted towards neurological aspects of voice disorders, from basic science to management, with approximately one third of chapters dedicated to this area. This coincided with my own interest therein. These included the superb chapter by Ludlow on Physiology of airway regulation, as well as chapters on topics such as neuro-degenerative disorders, Parkinson's disease etc. Incorporated therein were algorithms such as those devised for management of essential tremor and spasmodic dysphonia which seemed particularly helpful.

The laboratory section included chapters on stroboscopy, kymography and high-speed imaging as well as instrumental evaluations and EMG. I found these to be generally clear. There was a nicely distilled list of acoustic and aerodynamic measures in the instrumental evaluations chapter, however I would have personally been interested in the authors coming off of the fence and offering recommendations as to which measures they found most beneficial in their patient population.

The subsection on Inflammatory and Structural Disorders was well laid out, with a chapter on localized inflammatory problems (with a practical algorithm on clinical approach) followed by one on systemic inflammatory disorders and then one on reflux. The benign lesion chapter was well illustrated.

I was disappointed that neither of the editors chose to contribute a chapter to the book. I also felt that it would have benefited from chapters on embryology and genetics of the larynx.

Also noted were some problems with indexing. For example, I looked up 585-nm pulsed dye laser and found it indexed with granuloma on pages 131 and 133. I duly looked for this and only found such mention on page 233.

Overall, I enjoyed reviewing the book and believe that its format will prove useful, particularly for students revising or consolidating their knowledge in the field of voice disorders.



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