Choosing a career in neurosurgery is not for wimps: not only does it take a minimum of eleven years (that’s medical school and residency) to become a neurosurgeon; they then have to pass a rigorous certification exam by the American Board of Neurological Surgery; and that certification has to be kept current by attending conferences and taking continuing education courses and by sitting for the MOC (Maintenance of Certification) after initial board certification. Truth be told, for many of us, getting through that last sentence might be all the stamina we can muster.
Not so for our group at the Department of Neurosurgery, though. Just about every week, we post a blog or news item about advances they are making in their field through continued research and collaboration as well as conferences and courses they are attending and often teaching.
In that vein, we have more news for you today: Dr Christopher Winfree from the Pain Center and Peripheral Nerve Center was recently invited to teach during a series of lectures held in Phoenix, Arizona. The program was designed to help neurosurgeons prepare for the written MOC (Maintenance of Certification) exam. The exam covers a wide array of subtopics within the field of neurosurgery, such as the treatment of brain aneurysms, brain and spine tumors, pain syndromes, and peripheral nerve injuries. Neurosurgeons must take this exam ten years after initial certification and if they fail, they are no longer board certified in the field.
Department Chairman, Dr. Robert Solomon is on the board that reviews and gives advice on the questions to be used for the test. In that advisory role, he sat in on Dr. Winfree’s lectures and took the test shortly afterwards.
Dr. Winfree gave two lectures within his own subspecialty: one on peripheral nerve injuries and another on peripheral nerve tumors.
During the first talk, Acute Nerve Injury and Repair, he reviewed sharp lacerating injury, ongoing compression injury, delayed repair indications, blunt lacerating injury, as well as stretch, gunshot, and avulsion injury. He discussed repair goals, tension-free end-to-end anastomosis, graft or conduit repair, and delayed repair.
In his second lecture, Peripheral Nerve Tumors, Dr. Winfree reviewed the management and surgical strategies for a variety of tumor types such as schwannomas, neurofibromas, and nerve sheath tumors. He also spoke about the treatment of asymptomatic versus symptomatic tumors and what to do if the unexpected is encountered.
“The best part of the course was that the Chairman of the Neurosurgery department at Columbia, Robert Solomon, i.e. my Boss, was a student in the course. My Boss as my Student. How great is that? My only regret is that I didn’t get to give him a pop quiz…,” said Dr. Winfree.
So, stay tuned–more posts are sure to come soon about the growth and development of these extraordinary physicians, as they continue to push the boundaries of their knowledge in their commitment to ever better care for their patients.
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