Arthrogryposis: a text atlas. Edited by Lynn T Staheli, Judith G. Hall, Kenneth M. Jaffe and Diane 0. Paholke. Pp 178. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. ISBN: 0-521-57106-5. L55.00.
The concept of providing a text liberally illustrated in the form of an atlas is one which Staheli has used very successfully in the past in his delightful and informative Atlas of paediatric orthopaedics. To use this approach for a book on arthrogryposis is an interesting idea. The book is aimed at all health-care professionals, parents and patients and includes a parent amongst the editors. It provides much information on this often poorly understood condition.
The first chapter deals with the problem of diagnosis. Dr Hall, who is an acknowledged expert on the subject, gives a broad view of the, at least 150, possible causes, breaking them down into three major subgroupings. The book then concentrates on the management of the classical, mainly limb type of arthrogryposis, or to use its old name, amyoplasia congenita. Affliction of the upper and lower limbs is dealt with separately, with useful detail of the medial approach to the dislocated hip, which was pioneered by Staheli and has been giving very good results.
Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and orthotics have a great part to play in the management of these children. The role of the expert in these fields as both educator and facilitator for the child and the family is rightly emphasised. The difficulty for the family in coming to terms with the birth of a child with arthrogryposis and then dealing with the varying problems of their disability during life is emphasised and treated sympathetically. A multidisciplinary approach and, if possible, a special clinic where the various skills are available to allow the child as a whole to be looked after, are of priceless value.
Arthrogryposis can be intimidating both for those who suffer from it and for those responsible for the care of such patients. I can thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who comes in contact with a child with the condition in any form. They will be wiser having read it and by buying it will contribute to further research on the subject, as stated in the preface.
Copyright British Editorial Society of Bone & Joint Surgery Jan 1999
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