Copyright 1999 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
WHIPLASH INJURIES. CURRENT CONCEPTS IN PREVENTION, DIAGNOSIS,
AND TREATMENT OF THE CERVICAL WHIPLASH SYNDROME. Ed-
ited by Robert Gunzburg and Marek Szpalski. Philadelphia,
Lippincott-Raven, 1998. $100.00, 347 pp.
This textbook, which comprises thirty-five chapters by more than
sixty-five authors (several of whom are very well known), covers
anatomy, biomechanics, epidemiology, neuroradiology, psychology,
nonoperative care, and operative intervention. Although whiplash in-
jury is a very common occurrence, not much is known about it.
Whiplash is a very broad term. The manifestations of this injury
range from minimum to very substantial soft-tissue injury associated
with both acute and long-term sequelae. If the injury is major, it can
result in late instability and early degenerative changes.
Each chapter was written by experts on a specific aspect of whip-
lash injury. The text initiated a preliminary impairment rating, based
on an understanding of the biomechanics of the injury. The only area
that is somewhat subject to question is the ability to appropriately
diagnose and, therefore, to appropriately treat these injuries. There
are no solid diagnostic tools, even though magnetic resonance imaging
and blocks of various types allow better localization than was possible
The topic of prevention is covered by several authors, who discuss
automobile and head-restraint designs. These initial tools perhaps will
be helpful in decreasing the extent of the injury in future accidents.
The scope of this book is broader than the general topic of
whiplash injury, but the text only begins to delve into specifics. While
it may be useful to researchers as a reference, it is not sufficiently
complete, in its present form, to be the definitive text on the subject.
Additional work in this very important area should continue.
Hansen Yuan, M.D.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
State University of New York Health Science Center