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Dr. Connolly on Neurosurgery ‘Roadmaps’

Each year, an enormous amount of research is published about neurosurgery. When there is enough new information about a specific topic, it’s time for a review.

Respected specialists such as Dr. E. Sander Connolly, Vice Chairman of Columbia Neurosurgery, evaluate the data and distill it into guidelines. These guidelines, kind of like “roadmaps” for treating particular conditions, help neurosurgeons everywhere stay up to date.

Dr. Connolly’s most recent work is on guidelines for managing two kinds of bleeding in the brain: intracerebral hemorrhage and intraventricular hemorrhage.

To draft the guidelines, Dr. Connolly worked with a group of other neurosurgeons who specialize in blood vessels in the brain. Under the auspices of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), the group of experts evaluated published information about intracerebral and intraventricular hemorrhage.

The review group rated each study’s quality of evidence, a term that encompasses a study’s methods, reliability and size, among many other factors. (For incredibly detailed information on “quality of evidence” in a guideline review, see this page from the CNS.)

In short, the group examined not only each study’s results and recommendations, but also the methods used to arrive at those results and recommendations.

Then the group drafted their guidelines, noting at each step the quality of evidence that led them to make each recommendation. Noting the quality of evidence is important, because it allows neurosurgeons using the guidelines to know immediately whether the published data supporting a particular recommendation is strong and unanimous, or whether it leaves a margin for judgment and experience.

For further information, neurosurgeons can look up the specific studies on which various guidelines are based.

Because of the serious nature of brain hemorrhage, neurosurgeons are looking for the latest guidelines. Those who attended the most recent CNS convention got a jump on Dr. Connolly’s recommendations.

In a 90-minute session, Dr. Connolly and four other neurosurgeons gave an overview of the newest guidelines for intracerebral and intraventricular hemorrhage, including: how these hemorrhages tend to begin and progress, and how they can be treated with either traditional or minimally invasive surgery.

With these guidelines, Dr. Connolly and his colleagues have provided a roadmap that will help neurosurgeons everywhere navigate the ever-evolving terrain of diagnosis and treatment for these complex conditions. Ultimately, it will help neurosurgeons arrive at their goal: the best possible outcome for each patient.

Learn more about Dr. Connolly on his bio page here.

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