Editors: Cargill H. Alleyne, Jr., MD; M. Neill Woodall, MD; and Jonathan Stuart Citow, MD
Publisher: Thieme
Book Review by: Nano Khilnani – 418 pages, with 268 images

In 1940 the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) was approved as the agency to conduct examinations of candidates for their knowledge and skills, and issue certifications required for practice in this specialty. At that time neurosurgery was defined simply as a specialty that is focused on the surgical treatment of diseases of the nervous system.

Today, more than three quarters f a century later, neurosurgery has a much broader definition. Dr. Daniel L. Barrow, former ABNS president who wrote the Foreword of this book, more fully explains the scope of this specialty:

“Neurological surgery constitutes a medical discipline and surgical specialty that provides care for adult and pediatric patients in the treatment of pain and pathological processes that may modify the function or activity of the nervous system (e.g. brain, hypophysis, and spinal cord), the peripheral nervous system (e.g. cranial, spinal and peripheral nerves). The autonomic nervous system, the supporting structures of these systems (e.g. meninges, skull and skull base, and vertebral column), and their vascular supply (e.g. intracranial, extracranial, and spinal vasculature).”  

This book, developed to assist candidates prepare for their board exams in neurosurgery, is a very useful one, in that it presents questions, answers, and explanations in several subspecialties in neurology including anatomy, biology, clinical skills and critical care, radiology, pathology, and surgery. Its content is organized as shown below:

  1. Neurosurgery
    • Neurosurgery – Questions
    • Neurosurgery – Answer Key
    • Neurosurgery – Answers and Explanations
  2. Clinical Neurology
    • Clinical Neurology – Questions
    • Clinical Neurology – Answer Key
    • Clinical Neurology – Answers and Explanations
  3. Neuroanatomy
    • Neuroanatomy – Questions
    • Neuroanatomy – Answer Key
    • Neuroanatomy – Answers and Explanations
  4. Neurobiology
    • Neurobiology – Questions
    • Neurobiology – Answer Key
    • Neurobiology – Answers and Explanations
  5. Neuropathology
    • Neuropathology – Questions
    • Neuropathology – Answer Key
    • Neuropathology – Answers and Explanations
  6. Neuroradiology
    • Neuroradiology – Questions
    • Neuroradiology – Answer Key
    • Neuroradiology – Answers and Explanations
  7. Clinical Skills and Critical Care
    • Clinical Skills and Critical Care – Questions
    • Clinical Skills and Critical Care – Answer Key
    • Clinical Skills and Critical Care – Answers and Explanations

This is a compact, handy guide for candidates preparing to tackle the examinations for board certification in neurosurgery. The materials in it are very well organized.

You the exam taker can prepare first by reading and understanding the questions, then read the correct answers and tick them off as you commit them to memory, and later, go into more detailed explanations, so you not only remember the answers in brief but also understand a whole lot of detail related to them.



Cargill H. Alleyne, Jr., MD is Professor, Marshall Allen Distinguished Chairman, and Residency Program Director in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University in Atlanta, Georgia

Neill Woodall, MD is Chief Resident in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia.

Jonathan Stuart Citow, MD, FACS is Chief of Neurosurgery at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Illinois; and Associate Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at Rosalind Franklin University Medical School in North Chicago, Illinois. He is also President of the American Center for Spine and Neurosurgery in Libertyville, Illinois.