Royal Surrey’s Specialist Registrar in oral and maxillofacial surgery, Daniel van Gijn, has completed the mammoth task of writing and illustrating an Oxford Handbook of Head and Neck Anatomy, due to be published in early January.
This comprehensive, quick-reference guide includes over 400 illustrations and has been written with a clear understanding of the difficulties of relating complex three-dimensional images of head and neck anatomy with real cases in day-to-day clinical practice.
Aimed primarily at medical and dental students, the handbook will be a useful resource for trainee surgeons in ear, nose and throat, oral and maxillofacial and plastic surgery specialties, as well as anaesthetists and radiologists with a special interest in the head and neck.
Daniel said: “I submitted the initial proposal for the book to Oxford University Press about ten years ago whilst still a second degree dental student - but didn’t really get started writing in earnest until 2016. It’s been some time in the pipeline.
“My specialty is oral and maxillofacial surgery, which is a varied specialty that manages problems of the head and neck - from complex facial trauma to head and neck cancer and reconstructive surgery, cleft lip and palate, craniofacial, skin cancer surgery and even aesthetic surgery of the face. It is unique in requiring both medical and dental undergraduate degrees, in addition to the foundation and core surgical training necessary for all other surgical specialties.
“I’ve had an interest in head and neck anatomy after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in the subject during medical school - and have since wanted to pursue a specialty dedicated to pathology of this difficult anatomical area.
“Whilst it’s been a long and occasionally arduous process writing the book and drawing the 400 plus illustrations by hand, it’s ultimately been extremely satisfying to produce something tangible that I hope will be an invaluable reference guide for a broad audience of trainees and students.
“I have had to dedicate a lot of my free time in order to complete the book - at the expense of several years’ worth of early mornings, late evenings and holidays spent writing and illustrating. Having a true interest in the subject certainly made the countless hours more manageable.”
Daniel now has loose plans to write another book, also in the Oxford Handbook series - but doesn’t yet dare break this news to his wife!