Editors: Robert F. Spetzler, MD, Yashar Kalani, MD, and Michael T. Lawton, MD
Publisher:  Thieme – 473 pages
Book Review by: Nano Khilnani

The brainstem has been described in the surgical community as ‘a fool’s errand’ because it is nearly ‘unsurmountable,’ the editors of this book write in their Preface.  The good news is that recent advances in anesthesia, imaging, instrumentation, monitoring, and rehabilitative care, and surgical technique, have made it easier to approach this and other areas of the human brain.

However, it is essential that the physician have an honest and frank discussion of the risks involved in surgery to remove a tumor or improve his condition, and then too, only if surgery is the only option available.

These factors must be considered by the surgeon and explained to the patient: his or her age, medical condition, nature of the ailment, and the expected outcome after the surgery.

That said, this textbook provides authoritative and extensive coverage of the operative procedures relating to surgeries of the brainstem, the thalamus, the pineal region, and other areas.

The conditions diseases to be surgically treated are numerous and varied: aneurysms, malformations of several types, tumors, and others.

Ninety-six specialists in neurosurgery and allied fields, such as these and others – cerebrovascular surgery, cranial surgery, neuro-oncology, neurotology, neuropathology, neuroradiology, otolaryngology and head and neck surgery, radiosurgery, skull base surgery, and stereotactic radiosurgery – authored the 33 chapters of this extensive text on surgery of the brainstem and regional areas.

They are from all over the United States and nine other countries: Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, Germany, Japan, Russia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. We list the titles of seven Parts and 33 chapters of this book below, providing you an overview of its contents:

  1. Part I – History of Brainstem Surgery
  2. History of Brainstem Surgery
  3. Part II – Anatomy, Development, and Pathology of the Brainstem, Thalamus, and Pineal Region
  4. Anatomy of the Brainstem, Thalamus, Pineal Region, and Cranial Nerves
  5. Development of the Human Brainstem and Its Vasculature
  6. Pathology of the Brainstem
  7. Part III – Examinaion, Imaging, and Monitoring for Brainstem Surgery
  8. Imaging Anatomy and Pathology of the Brainstem, Thalamus, and Pineal Region
  9. Neuromonitoring for Brainstem Surgery
  10. Neurologic Examination of the Brainstem and Thalamus
  11. Part IV – Surgical Approaches to the Brainstem, Thalamus, and Pineal Region 
  12. Surgical Approaches to the Ventral Brainstem and Thalamus
  13. Approaches to the Dorsal Brainstem, Thalamus and Pineal Region
  14. Skull Base Approaches to the Lateral Brainstem and Cranial nerves
  15. Endoscopic Approaches to the Brainstem
  16. Safe Entry Zones to the Brainstem
  17. Part V – Comprehensive Management of Tumors of the Brainstem, Thalamus, and Pineal Region
  18. Adult Brainstem Gliomas
  19. Pediatric Brainstem Tumors
  20. Tumors of the Thalamus
  21. Tumors of the Third Ventricle
  22. Tumors of the Fourth Ventricle
  23. Tumors of the Cerebellopontine Angle
  24. Pineal Region Tumors
  25. Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Tumors of the Brainstem, Thalamus, and Pineal Region
  26. Radiotherapy for Pineal, Thalamic and Brainstem Tumors
  27. Neuro-Oncologic Considerations for Pineal, Thalamic, Brainstem Tumors
  28. Part VI – Comprehensive Management of Vascular Pathology of the Brainstem and Thalamus
  29. Brainstem Ischemia
  30. Microsurgical Embolectomy
  31. Brainstem and Thalamic
  32. Surgical Management of Posterior
  33. Endovascular Management of Aneurysms
  34. Surgical Management of Thalamic and Brainstem Arteriovenous Malformations
  35. Endovascular Management of Brainstem and Thalamic Arteriovenous Malformations
  36. Surgery for Thalamic and Brainstem Cavernous Malformations
  37. Revascularization of the Brainstem
  38. Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Arteriovenous Malformations of the Basal Ganglia, Thalamus and Brainstem
  39. Part VII – Implants and Cranial Valve Repair 
  40. Auditory Brainstem Implants

This book provides coverage that is among most comprehensive available  today, on surgical treatment of various ailments, anomalies, conditions, diseases, malformations, and tumors in the brainstem and other areas. It is amply illustrated with colorful and detailed images and accompanying explanations. This is absolutely the book to own by any ambitious, aspiring, as well as by any forward-thinking, established and experienced neurosurgeon



Robert F. Spetzler, MD is Emeritus President and CEO of Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.

Yashar Kalani, MD, PhD is Vice Chair, Associate Professor, and Director of Skullbase and Neurovascular Surgery in the Department of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, Virginia

Michael T. Lawton, MD is President, CEO, and Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.