By Scott M. Fishman, M.D., Jane C. Ballantyne, M.D., F.R.C.A., James P. Rathmell, M.D., eds. Philadelphia, Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2010. Pages: 2,064. Price: $299.00.

It has been 9 yr since the third edition of Bonica's Management of Pain  was released. Much has changed in the field of pain management in terms of medications, multidisciplinary approaches, nonnarcotic therapies, the explosion of interventional pain techniques, and the struggles the field of pain medicine has undergone and will undergo. It is fair to say that the editors of this new edition were ready and motivated to capture these changes while maintaining the quality of the original 1953 edition.

The new edition is divided into six parts. The first part—Basic Considerations—explores the history of pain, pain physiology, anatomy, and the role of genetics and psychology in pain. The second part—Economic, Political, Legal, and Ethical considerations, which is a new addition—covers the medicolegal aspects of pain, particularly the legal action that can come with prescribing controlled substances and performing interventional techniques. The third part—Evaluation of the Pain Patient—details the medical and social evaluation of patients, including disability assessment. The fourth part—Pain Conditions—provides an overview of the different pain conditions, including neuropathic pain disorders, musculoskeletal pain, cancer pain, pain in geriatrics and pediatrics, visceral pain, and low-back pain. The fifth section—Methods for Symptomatic Control—reviews the pharmacology of medications used in pain, injection techniques, psychologic interventions, and surgical options. The final part—Provisions of Pain Treatment—discusses the viability of pain medicine, as well as the training and the future of pain specialists.

Bonica's chapters are well organized, have excellent depth, and are quite informative. The online version offers full access, is easy to navigate, and is detailed with excellent imaging. Images are readily transferred for academic presentations. The online full version access of Bonica's textbook is included in the price, unlike the additional fee required by Wall and Melzack's Textbook of Pain, 5th Edition  1; there is no online access for Raj's Practical Management of Pain, 4th Edition .2 

The new edition offers a detailed physiologic basis per chapter, with clear and concise treatments, making this optimal for multidisciplinary pain board review. Review of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , 4th Edition ,3the examination of the pain patient, as well as functional capacity, disability evaluation, and pain psychology, were well written. The new edition includes topics that pain physicians encounter, such as the role of acupuncture in pain treatment. The headache chapter was much more comprehensive than that in the previous edition and those in the Wall and Melzack1and Raj2texts. Topics such as thermal radiofrequency ablation, cryoablation, pulsed radiofrequency, and chemical neurolytics were well covered in the newest edition of Bonica's text. The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug chapters of the three major large-volume pain texts had plentiful substance, although the Wall and Melzack book offered numerous tables for individual drug comparisons, making it a little easier to extrapolate the information. The section on spinal cord stimulation, which is a rapidly growing field, was fair compared with those of the other two major texts. However, the 4th Edition of Bonica had superior chapters on peripheral nerve stimulation, cortex, and deep brain stimulation.

The only reservation with the new text is its failure to adequately detail common ultrasound-guided nerve blocks, such as the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve block, genitofemoral, ilioinguinal, iliohypogastric, transverses abdominis plane, and other blocks performed in the clinic. In addition, minimal detail is provided regarding some important topics, such as the comparison of steroids, particulate versus  nonparticulate, as well as discography and its classifications.

What sets this text apart from the other major texts is the detail provided in each chapter. This is more than a mere reference book and is intended to be truly comprehensive. Bonica's Management of Pain, 4th Edition , is truly a well organized, thorough, and easy-to-read textbook. This is an excellent resource for the clinician in residency, in fellowship, or in practice. The detailed chapters, tables, images, and online access make this a complete and reasonably priced edition.

To find a complete textbook that covers acute, chronic, and cancer pain, as well as the multidisciplinary approaches, while adding interventional techniques, is very challenging. This new edition of Bonica's book does a very nice job of covering these issues. I strongly recommend this book as a priceless addition to the library of anyone practicing anesthesia, acute pain, noninterventional chronic pain, and interventional pain medicine.

Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.

McMahon SB, Koltzenburg M: Wall and Melzack's Textbook of Pain, 5th Edition. Philadelphia, Elsevier/Churchill Livingston, 2005
Elsevier/Churchill Livingston
Benzon HT, Rathmell JP, Wu CL, Turk DC, Argoff CE, editors: Raj's Practical Management of Pain, 4th Edition. Philadelphia, Mosby-Elsevier, 2008Benzon HT, Rathmell JP, Wu CL, Turk DC, Argoff CE
American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition. Washington DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000
American Psychiatric Association
Washington DC
American Psychiatric Association