Fundamentals of Skeletal Radiology

Fundamentals of Skeletal Radiology by Clyde A. Helms, 3rd ed.
ElsevierHealth, St. Louis, 2005, $54.95

This compact text (235 pages) is a clear and concise work that can be read by any radiology resident during the typical four to six week rotation in musculoskeletal imaging. In the traditional, direct Helms style, it provides solid rules of operation that are useful for trainees and practicing radiologists alike.

This third edition is not altered significantly from its predecessor; however changes have been made in the MRI chapters. The first four chapters focus primarily on fundamental principles of musculoskeletal radiology, effectively providing rules of thumb, and offering critically important teaching points. These summaries allow the reader to better organize his thoughts as he relates to the imaging process of the bones and joints. The next four chapters focus on such important topics as trauma, arthritis, metabolic bone disease, and miscellaneous conditions.

The last five chapters on spinal and joint MRI contain helpful hints, imaging tips, and introductory information that the target audience will find useful. The MR imaging text is organized by body parts, which is not in keeping with previous chapters, organized by pathology.

Still, these chapters -- which almost seem like they could be from a separate book -- function as a showcase of various disease entities rather than as an effective discussion of musculoskeletal MRI. This may be because MR is a relatively new modality in this setting, in comparison to the decades of imaging experience attained through conventional radiography.

The section on unnecessary examinations has been a crowd-pleaser since the first edition. The differential for benign lytic lesions ("FEGNOMASHIC") has become a classic teaching point. The categorization of the tumors based on age and location is very useful and the chapter on "don&'t touch lesions" has steered many radiology residents in the right direction, especially when on-call.

Ultimately, it's Helms' irreverent and casual style that makes Fundamentals of Skeletal Radiology an informative and entertaining read.

By Dr. Douglas P. Beall contributing writer
April 7, 2005

Dr. Beall is an associate professor of radiology at the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. He is the author of Radiology Sourcebook: A Practical Guide for Reference and Training.

The opinions expressed in this review are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Copyright © 2005

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