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N A Athanasou. (£140.00.) Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN 0 192 62792 9.
This book provides the reader with what the title promises. Taking numerous and almost all high quality pictures as starting points, different areas in orthopaedic pathology are covered with small bits of text providing the most relevant clinical and histological details. It starts off with an overview of normal structure and development, then turns to repair, necrosis, and reactive changes in skeletal tissue, and continues with infections of bone and joint. I found these chapters quite useful with extremely good illustrations. For the next chapter on disorders of skeletal development, obviously some choices have been made as to which diseases are presented, but the ones discussed are the most frequent ones, and the histological pictures are accompanied by relevant x rays. The following chapters on metabolic and endocrine disorders of the skeleton, and diseases of joints and periarticular tissues, are again useful with good illustrations. The last two chapters I found less impressive. The final chapter on soft tissue tumours and tumour-like lesions could have been left out. This area is so wide that it is difficult to provide an overview of relevant lesions in 65 pages and it is therefore incomplete. GIST/GANT, myxofibrosarcoma, and solitary fibrous tumour are not described, and immunohistochemistry data are scarce (for example, CD34 expression in DFSP is not mentioned), as are relevant molecular biological data. Instead, this space would have been more useful to provide a more complete overview of bone tumours and tumour-like lesions, the penultimate chapter. Neoplastic conditions are dealt with in spite of the announcement on the back cover, which says the books only deals with non-neoplastic conditions. I suppose this is an error by the publisher, who seems to have made an abstract from the introduction by the author. Hopefully for the author, this incorrect announcement is not going to be used in advertisements and leaflets.
Recently, several good books on orthopaedic pathology have been published. Despite the few criticisms, this colour atlas will surely find its place in the market. It is a beautiful book with many superb pictures, quite suitable for general histopathologists and residents who want to get a quick overview of the large and not so easy field of orthopaedic pathology. Specialised orthopaedic pathologists will probably more often turn to the bigger recent books dealing with tumours.