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Several years ago, after being appointed as a consultant, my esteemed senior colleague entered my office and questioned why I was reading a textbook at that stage of my career, suggesting that I should be focusing solely on journals. Whilst I learned much from my colleague, I could not agree with this comment.

Whilst journals might be thought of as the speedboats of medical knowledge, able to change direction rapidly and provide up-to-date information, a good textbook is like a beautiful cruise liner carefully designed and crafted, representing a synthesis of comprehensive knowledge acquired over years and presented in a clear and methodical manner. With this in mind, this text on the management of cholesteatoma is the QE2 luxury cruise liner, presenting as it does the authors’ philosophy and rationale behind which approach to adopt and when, in middle ear cholesteatoma through extensive experience, beautifully illustrated throughout. Their approach is emphasised by the statement in the foreword that “the technique should be adapted to the patient rather than have the patient adapt to the technique”.

As would be expected, there are chapters on anatomy, radiology, diagnosis and operative setup and basic techniques along with those on canal wall up and canal wall down surgery and retroauricular transcanal approach. Also included are chapters on congenital cholesteatoma, ear canal cholesteatoma and petrous bone cholesteatoma, with details on subtotal petrosectomy and blinds sac closure. Chapters have a helpful section on hints and pitfalls to end. Two further useful chapters on problems and solutions in middle ear cholesteatoma surgery and on management of iatrogenic injuries are a valuable addition.

The book is superbly illustrated throughout with the e-book having accompanying videos. Over 2000 illustrations/operative images are used in total. Overall, this is an excellent addition for trainees intent on a career in otology and practising consultants alike, and is highly recommended. I had to wrestle it from our otology fellow in order to complete the review!

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Neil Fergie

King’s Mill Hospital and Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK.

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