Facial Paralysis – a Comprehensive Rehabilitative Approach provides a thorough account of the surgical management of facial nerve disorders. It is an enjoyable read – being a manageable size yet covering the topic in sufficient detail to appeal to the trainee as well as being a helpful aide-memoire for the specialist.
The structure is conventional, working through facial nerve anatomy, patient history, aetiology etc. and then on to management of the specific paralysed regions of the face. The description of different techniques is surprisingly detailed for a bite-sized book and is supported by quality images. However, for such a visually evocative subject, there could be more images and perhaps an online link to videos, which are an essential facet in facial palsy assessment and a great learning tool.
The book is written by Professor Wax, a Professor of Otolaryngology, and his background certainly helps to provide a fresh insight into a well worked topic – delivering detailed analysis on facial reflexes, intracranial facial nerve anatomy and a good overview of electrophysiologic testing. However, given that the book professes to deliver a comprehensive approach, the scope is surprisingly narrow. I would like to have seen more on assessment, which is the bedrock of facial palsy management – the role of 3D imaging, assessment tools, patient-reported outcomes. In addition, other topics important to the multidisciplinary approach that deserved chapters on their own include the role of the physiotherapy, psychotherapy and challenging issues in chronic facial nerve injuries (synkinesis, hyerptonicity).
Overall, Prof Wax has brought us a book that is more of a surgical manual, focusing on the great array of different procedures, than a global guide to contemporary facial palsy management. However, it still provides a useful review of a fascinating topic.