For me, the title of this book conjures up an historical image. I imagine an early 20th century consulting room, an otologist with a head mirror and bull’s eye lamp. A pre-antibiotic era in which a patient’s otorrhoea is meticulously dry-mopped by the otologist, whose well-thumbed book The Chronic Ear recommends insufflation of boracic powder with iodine, and sits on an oak shelf alongside a Politzer bag and a fine selection of tuning forks and Barany boxes.

I must confess to having a nerdy interest in historical ENT texts, but I’m delighted to report that this book is nothing of the sort. It’s a substantial, glossy hardback, bursting with clear pictures including line diagrams, full colour clinical and endoscopic photographs, and histopathological images. The opening pages reveal an author list incorporating numerous renowned international names.

The content itself is superb and up-to-date. It offers an interesting and surprisingly easy read for any otologist, whether a trainee getting to grips with the principles of complex ear surgery, or an experienced surgeon looking for fresh wisdom in managing a challenging case. Alongside chapters on the pathophysiology, microbiology and histopathology of chronic ear disease, are sections on biomaterials, imaging and middle ear mechanics. Subsequent chapters aim to offer a variety of approaches to tympanic membrane reconstruction, ossiculoplasty, and tympanomastoidectomy. A final section covers special topics and new horizons in chronic ear disease, addressing implantable devices, skull base surgery and endoscopic ear surgery.

This book fills an important gap in the literature; a gap I didn’t realise existed until I had the book in my hands, and appreciated its condensation of science and wisdom. It’s accessible but comprehensive, beautifully presented, and addresses issues that are of vital importance in modern otology. My copy will be placed prominently in my office, alongside my Politzer bag and my fine selection of tuning forks and Barany boxes.

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Emma Stapleton

Manchester Royal Infirmary, UK

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