Tumors of the head and neck continue to pose
challenges for afflicted patients and their treating physicians.
Because the complex and vital anatomy often involved affects the
ability to communicate and interact socially, head and neck tumors
can have a devastating effect on the patients quality of life.
Due to the inherently complex nature of such tumors and their rarity,
a comprehensive textbook devloted to their management is certain to
This textbook, edited by Thawley, Panje, Batsakis, and Lindberg, logs
in at just under 2,000 pages divided between two volumes. Major
sections include: an introductory section focusing on general
management considerations; separate sections on tumors of the ear,
nasal cavity/paranasal sinus, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, salivary
gland, skin, neck, craniofacial skeletal-dental, thyroid/parathyroid,
and trachea; and a final section featuring special topics, such as
head and neck tumors in children.
Each part of the book dedicated to a specific anatomic location
begins with a chapter on the pathologic evaluation and
classifications of tumors of that site. This is indeed a real benefit
and highlight of the text, written under the direction of Dr.
Batsakis, a universally noted expert in head and neck tumor
pathology. Sections generally follow with additional chapters on
surgical management, radiation treatment, and, when deemed
appropriate, other relevant topics.
Each section ends with an interesting chapter summarizing
controversies in the management of specific tumor sites of the head
and neck. These controversies chapters, along with the
pathology chapters, should be very useful to the intended audience of
The multidisciplinary nature of the text and its contributing authors
lends to its interesting, helpful perspectives on the management of
sometimes very complex clinical problems. However, it also
contributes to some redundancy in the text.
Additional highlights of the text that should prove useful to
readers include the general considerations section, particularly the
chapters on nursing care and molecular biology of head and neck tumors.
In a text that is overall very useful, a few shortcomings stand out:
Some discussion of diagnostic techniques, such as fine-needle
aspiration and office endoscopy, would have added to the
comprehensive nature of the book. Chapter 27, on surgical
therapy of tumors of the nasal cavity, provides no information on
telescopic or endoscopic management of sinonasal tumors and discusses
the somewhat outdated Gigli saw for the performance of
maxillectomy osteotomies. Also, the text would have benefited from
some discussion of midfacial degloving and LeFort I osteotomies for
nasal cavity and sinus tumors, and, from a surgeons standpoint,
the section on tumors of the salivary gland would have benefited from
more details on rehabilitation, focusing on facial nerve deficits.
Additional sections that might have made the text more comprehensive
include discussions of radiation-induced wound complications and
reconstruction techniques, particularly, advanced microvascular flap reconstruction.
Notwithstanding these relatively minor shortcomings, the textbook
presents a tremendous amount of useful information in an easily
accessible format. I would recommend strongly that all training
programs in surgical, medical, and radiation oncology, as well as
allied specialties that commonly deal with head and neck tumor
patients, have this text available for reference. The head and neck
practitioner will similarly find this a useful and voluminous source
of information for quick reference. The editors are to be
acknowledged for their significant contribution and encouraged to
continue refining and expanding their work.