Knut Wester (ed.): Arachnoid cysts
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The Norwegian neurosurgeon Knut Wester is internationally recognized for dedicating a large part of his long clinical and academic career to the treatment and study of arachnoid cysts. The preface in the book makes a clear statement of the need for a textbook dealing extensively with this subject: “this is the first textbook in English ever on arachnoid cysts (ACs). Considering the fact that AC is the most common intracranial expansive condition in the general population, this absence of comprehensive literature is striking.”
The first volume (Epidemiology, biology, and neuroimaging) discusses pathology and pathophysiology, and although these themes cannot be separated from knowledgeable neurosurgical management, the purpose of this volume is descriptive understanding not directly aimed at clinical practice. This volume thus contains chapters on biology, theories on physiological mechanisms, epidemiology, and natural history. The very first chapter, “Historical perspectives and controversial aspects,” in good academic style not only pays homage to historical discoveries and contributions but also appropriately points out that these “help in understanding some of the present-day views on ACs.”
The second volume (Clinical and surgical management) is collected with the purpose of providing information related to clinical practice with chapters on symptoms, diagnosis, surgical techniques, and outcomes. The last four chapters focus on pediatric, spinal, and sport-related aspects of arachnoid cysts.
More than 40 authors from several countries have contributed to the book, most of whom have a significant track record with publications about arachnoid cysts. Knut Wester’s vast knowledge about all aspects of arachnoid cysts is a goldmine for sharing, and accordingly, he is also a major contributor to several chapters.
Many features of arachnoid cysts are still debated and controversial—both understanding their biology and probably related to this also opinions and recommendations about their management. Both existing evidence and opposing views, when evidence is not available, are presented. As Knut Wester reflects, this inevitably sometimes results in conflicting information, but these are the prerequisites for giving the full picture to the reader. The book is thus a comprehensive work not only of great importance to people with a particular interest in arachnoid cysts but also of significant practical value to all neurosurgeons by providing guidance for clinical decisions.