Albert Rhoton was a renowned American neurosurgeon with an intense interest in anatomy. This book was published after his death in 2016 and aims to continue Rhoton’s philosophy of patients benefit deriving from surgeons’ knowledge and understanding of complex anatomy. I’m sure we all agree that this is a worthy mantra to pass down the generations.
This is not an anatomy textbook. It is, as described, an atlas. The images are stunning, but there are no lengthy paragraphs of text that one would normally associate with an anatomy text. This means a basic pre-existing knowledge is implied. For example, photographs of the sphenoid bone have the carotid artery represented by red molding material. Surgical trainees will find this immensely useful when preparing for a complex case, and considering the anatomical implications of their surgery, but there is no explanation of clinical context. This is pure anatomy, laid out beautifully for those who already understand why they need to study it.
One of the drawbacks of this book is that some of the images are so heavily annotated with lines pointing to every imaginable feature of an anatomical specimen, that the specimen itself is obscured. I logged onto the Thieme website to see whether an interactive option was available. Whilst this book has online content, it is a simple electronic version of the book itself and does not offer the option to view images without heavy annotations.
The book is big! It’s heavy, glossy, and expensive. It feels like a trophy. And it is a beautiful book to peruse at leisure. It would be a dream gift for a newly-appointed surgical trainee with an interest in head and neck anatomy. Or a lovely addition to a library, or a bookshelf in a surgeon’s office.