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Residents and Review: Dr. Christopher Winfree’s Lab-Filled Weekend

Dr. Winfree looks on during dissection lab for peripheral nerves
Dr. Winfree (left) assists a resident with a surgical technique while another resident looks on.

You might recall the recent news that Columbia Neurosurgery residents have one of the highest success rates in the nation. But what are residents, and what do they have to do with Dr. Christopher Winfree’s lab-filled weekend?

Residents are doctors who have graduated from medical school—but they aren’t finished learning. They have decided to spend seven more years in rigorous training programs, learning to specialize in neurosurgery.

Neurosurgery residency is known for being incredibly demanding. But the neurosurgeons on Columbia’s faculty are hardworking and exacting teachers and coaches. They consider it their calling to help the residents meet their potential.

All of which explains why Dr. Winfree and several residents spent a recent weekend day in the dissection lab. Dr. Winfree was running a day-long lab on peripheral nerves. “We typically do this each year in the weeks leading up to the written neurosurgery board examination,” he explained. The hands-on review, so to speak, is excellent preparation for the residents’ exams.

The review day was a full one. Dr. Winfree gave the residents experience in anatomy and peripheral nerve surgical exposures. They practiced techniques like nerve decompressions, graft repairs, and nerve transfers. These are important topics for any neurosurgeon to understand thoroughly. And Dr. Winfree, who runs the Center for Peripheral Nerve Surgery, is just the person to teach them.

Kudos to the hard work and focus of residents and faculty alike. Patients really benefit from your dedication.

And, residents: hope the written exams in March went well. Best of luck on the oral exams later this year!

Learn more about Dr. Christopher Winfree on his bio page here.

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