Book Reviews

Practical management of head and neck injuries 2012

Edited by Jeffrey V Rosenfeld

AM MBBS (Melb). MD (Monash), MS (Melb), FRACS, FRCS (Edin), FASC, FRCS (Glasg) Hon, FCNST Hon, FRCST Hon, FACTM, MRACMA, RAAMC. Professor and Head, Department of Surgery, Monash University Central Clinical School Melbourne. Director, Department of Neurosurgery, The Alfred Hospital Melbourne. Director, Monash University Brain Institute, Melbourne. Major General and Surgeon General, Australian Defence Forces-Reserves.

Churchill Livingstone Elsevier 2012


ISBN: 9780729539562 (pbk.)

Type and Scope of Book

This is a book designed to examine the practical management of the global problem of head and spinal injury. The book in comprehensive in approach. It covers all aspects of the subject. The book starts by examining the enormity of the problem and it impacts. It moves the reader from anatomy and physiology, to injuries and the management of these head and spinal injuries for all patient groups. The book completes the readers journey by focusing on rehabilitation, outcomes and prevention.


Chapter 1 – Epidemiology

Chapter 2 – Anatomy of the head and neck. This contain some great illustrations that aluminates the chapter.

Chapter 3 – Pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury. Excellent section that has a fantastic explanation of the cellular and molecular level of traumatic brain injury

Chapter 4 – Pre-hospital management

Chapter 5 – Emergency department management. This section breaks down further to investigate initial assessment, maxillofacial injuries, blunt injuries of the neck, CSF rhinorrhoea, Epistaxis, Injuries to the ear, Fractures to the temporal bone, and eye injuries.

Chapter 6 – Injury to the spine and spinal cord.

Chapter 7 – Vascular injury.

Chapter 8 – Operative surgery.

Chapter 9 – Intensive care management of head injury.

Chapter 10 – Ward care of the head-injured patient.

Chapter 11 – Rehabilitation.

Chapter 12 – Head injury in children.

Chapter 13 – Head injury in the elderly.

Chapter 14 – Head injury in sport.

Chapter 15 – Penetrating head injury.

Chapter 16 – Bleeding diathesis and anticoagulants. Useful chapter on risk factors and management of bleeding.

Chapter 17 – Neurotrauma and pregnancy.

Chapter 18 – Brain Death.

Chapter 19 – Persistent vegetative and minimally responsive states following head injury.

Chapter 20 – Prediction of outcome and the prognosis of head injury.

Chapter 21 – Prevention of head injury and the role of trauma systems.


The book has many strengths. The book is a comprehensive overall view of head and spinal injuries. It covers many broad aspects of this major health care problem.

The authors are Australian and therefore use terminology and language that is familiar with this audience. The authors are all considered expert in their field and hold corresponding posts of eminence.

The images and pictures are crisp and well labelled. Tables are accurate and can be referenced and applied to the text. This enables the reader to cross reference and make sense of the concepts and information. The book includes many x-ray and CT images that are explained well.

The chapters are broken down well that make information able to easily referenced. The section follow sequentially that allow the reader to build on information that given in the earlier chapters.

The book has a foreword from Sir Graham Teasdale. This man, a co-creator of the world renowned Glasgow Coma Scale GCS gives the book extra creditability with his recommendation.

The section of the Pathophysiology of head injuries was very useful. This section is particularly well broken down explained. The section on the cellular and molecular response to injury allowed this reviewer a deeper understanding of concept.

The book includes a large chapter on the emergency department management of the head injured patient. This chapter breaks the information into its system component parts. The chapter gives many practical examination and treatment hints. This information will assist both the novice and experienced practitioner in both diagnosis and treatment.

The books chapter on operative management head injures describes the surgical principles and strategies that are available. It gives clear indications for surgical options and what these options are. The colour drawings of the procedures give the non surgical practitioner a great idea of these procedures and techniques.

The book uses the Westmead PTA scale testing for post traumatic amnesia. This highlights practical use of systems that this reviewers hospital helped develop. It links acute problems of amnesia to rehabilitation, recovery and functional outcome.

The chapters on special populations and highlights problems in diagnosis and practical management of these groups. They concentrate on the issues and complications that leaves the reader in no doubt of current best practice management plans.

The book moves the reader from acute care to rehabilitation and outcome management. This highlights the information from the epidemiology from chapter 1 that head injury are associated with poor comes and long term management issues.


This reviewer was very interested in the books view on C-spine immobilisation controversies and practice variations. Disappointment was had as this aspect was not covered by the book in the spinal injuries section.

The book includes a section on triage of the head injured patient. This reviewer was surprised at the low triages that some the group was given. This may contravene some recommendations of some Australian trauma institutes.

Recommended readership

This book would appeal to both neurosurgical trauma nursing specialists and emergency nurses. It is broad based and comprehensive information that covers the patient journey from injury to rehabilitation.

The book is well written style with simple explanations of points. This that would suit the post graduate student navigate assignments as a reference point . The references use the latest research and knowledge to give best practice advice.

Overall rating

The most comprehensive Australian book written on Head and Spinal Trauma that this reviewer has read. Only the lack of reference to C-spine immobilisation techniques prevents this book form getting full marks. This is great reference book that would hold its place in any workplace or personal professional library.