NEW FEATURE! Meet our educators
Get acquainted with our surgical faculty. Our neurosurgeons come from around the country and the world, with experience and training in all neurosurgical subspecialties. From Functional Neurosurgery to Complex Spine, our residents will be part of a team of knowledgeable neurosurgeons. For complex patients, we interact with other specialties to give our patients the benefit of the best, multi-disciplinary course of treatment.
1. Describe your most favorite neurosurgical educator.
My most favorite neurosurgical educator was a tumor surgeon. He was an excellent surgeon with amazing patience. The key moments, the morbidity makers, of long cases often come at the end when surgeons are tired and impatient. I’ll never forget his focus and resetting when these moments came. His preoperative preparation was uncanny. He would encourage and often mandate preparation in the microsurgical lab If the approach was infrequently used or the lead resident was unfamiliar with it. Short “homework” assignments were often given to engrain anatomic relationships and how tumors can distort these. Most of all, I remember his availability even when the issues were outside of the realm of neurosurgery.
2. How do you determine when to step in on a case?
Determining when to step in on a case is a dynamic process. Working with a chief resident is much different than working with a junior resident. There is a part of every case that has a role for every PGY level. Trust developed over numerous cases helps me to identify what a resident feels comfortable with. The hard stop of stepping in on a case is patient safety. Sometimes this is a result of the resident being unaware of the regional anatomy. More often, it is my own lack of appreciating the anatomic relationships from the observer scope or microscope screen that can only be appreciated by being the primary surgeon.
3. How do you decide what each resident can do?
Resident involvement increases with repetition. A working relationship is established over time by spending time in conference, the lab, and in the operating room. There is a role for every PGY level in every case.
4. How do you offer guidance while a resident is operating?
Guidance in the operating room starts before the patient shows up in the operating room. The resident needs to know there is a clear surgical plan prior to making that incision. It starts with reviewing the imaging, the anatomy, and the potential complications at each step. Reviewing operative videos and/or neurosurgical atlases is super important. During surgery, reminders of the goals of surgery and structures at risk are often reaffirmed. Guidance can be given by showing the steps of a dissection or talking them through it. Recognizing how a resident learns best is invaluable in them becoming competent, independent neurosurgeons.