Book Review  |   April 2007
The Radiology Handbook: A Pocket Guide to Medical Imaging
Author Affiliations
  • Gilbert E. D'Alonzo, Jr, DO
    American Osteopathic Association
    Editor in Chief
Article Information
Book Review   |   April 2007
The Radiology Handbook: A Pocket Guide to Medical Imaging
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, April 2007, Vol. 107, 144-145. doi:
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, April 2007, Vol. 107, 144-145. doi:
Ohio University Press' White Coat Pocket Guide Series currently consists of two pocket handbooks, both written and edited by osteopathic physicians, and both aimed at improving practitioners' understanding of various diagnostic tests. The first book in this series, The Guide to EKG Interpretation, written and edited by John A. Brose, DO, and coauthored by John C. Auseon, DO; Daniel Waksman, DO; and Michael J. Jarosick, DO (Athens: Ohio University Press; 2006), is designed as a convenient resource for medical students and physicians who need immediate information regarding echocardiograms. Like its predecessor in the series, The Radiology Handbook: A Pocket Guide to Medical Imaging is designed to serve as a basic introduction and handy reference tool for physicians-in-training. The guide is most appropriate for those who are not pursuing the specialty of radiology but who require immediate information on ordering and interpreting a variety of radiologic images for their patients. This concise, practical, easy-to-read handbook fits into a lab coat pocket for a quick and accessible topical review of various imaging studies that a family physician might order. 
The author of The Radiology Handbook, Jeff S. Benseler, DO, is a practicing clinical radiologist and associate professor of radiology at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr Benseler's proficiency in radiology and his more than 20 years of teaching experience form the backbone of this guide. The result is the kind of product that busy clinicians need most: a hands-on reference book that readers can thumb through to quickly locate the desired information. 
A certain amount of the ease physicians will have in consulting The Radiology Handbook is the result of its simple three-part structure: “Ordering Schemes,” “Imaging Overview,” and “Imaging Anatomy and Pathology.” Together, these sections examine in a concise and practical fashion every region of the body and every type of imaging study that can be ordered. 
  • “Ordering Schemes” provides readers with a straightforward and thorough list of recommended imaging tests organized by body region (literally from head to toe) and related patient symptoms and conditions (from skull fractures to tarsal coalitions). A computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) comparison chart is also included for regions of the body, such as the head and neck, the musculoskeletal system, and the spine, in which it may be more difficult for family physicians to determine the best imaging methods to order for their patients.
  • “Imaging Overview” comprises 12 chapters, which flawlessly weave information about anatomy, pathology, and imaging studies into an accessible reference tool to assist clinicians in ordering radiologic tests and interpreting the results. This entire section is structured in question-and-answer format, which allows readers to easily locate the desired information. For example, one of the questions in the first chapter, which focuses on radiographs, asks “How will I know if the X-ray is of diagnostic quality?” Dr Benseler responds to this real-world question by describing for his readers what to look for in under- or overexposed x-ray films as well as the diagnostic errors that can occur as a result of such images.
    The first four chapters in “Imaging Overview” expose the four basic imaging techniques: radiography, computed tomography, ultrasonography, and MRI/PET (positron emission tomography). The next seven chapters of “Imaging Overview” then discuss how best to determine which of these four technologies is most suitable for detecting various pathologic conditions. The 12th and final chapter of “Imaging Overview” takes the information presented in the preceding chapters a step further by discussing how practitioners and physicians-in-training can improve their proficiency in ordering and interpreting radiologic images.
    Dr Benseler also introduces a number of memory-enhancing techniques for physicians throughout this section. Providing such a tool for physicians who must visualize the pars interarticularis for patient diagnosis, Dr Benseler introduces his readers to the “Scottie dog,” a shape that can be discerned in the lumbar spine when “connecting the dots” between the articular facets, the pedicle, and the pars interarticularis. Visual-recognition tips like this one are intended to help medical students and physicians immediately identify the components of each region of the body and their patients' conditions. Such tips also simultaneously provide readers with an effective means for committing this new information to memory.
  • The last part of the manual, “Imaging Anatomy and Pathology,” provides 60 self-test images intended to challenge physicians' knowledge of normal anatomy and common pathologic conditions. Each question consists of two radiologic images on a single page, one with various anatomic features alphabetically labeled as a simple reader-identification quiz, and a related image that requires diagnosis. Answers are provided on the reverse side of each page.
    Resources for continued learning are provided for readers interested in additional information in “Imaging Anatomy and Pathology.” A detailed and comprehensive index is included as well.
In addition to its reader-friendly format, The Radiology Handbook provides high-quality images and related drawings and diagrams. Its superb image quality will be highly effective at refreshing practitioners' knowledge of radiology. 
I recommend, without hesitation, The Radiology Handbook: A Pocket Guide to Medical Imaging for all medical students and residents in family medicine. In addition, I believe that it would be an excellent resource for physicians in practice who commonly order radiologic studies for their patients. ♦ 
 By J.S. Benseler, DO. 283 pp, $20.00. ISBN 978-0-8214-1708-9. Athens: Ohio University Press; 2006. Brose JA, ed. White Coat Pocket Guide Series.