Thursday, July 31, 2008

Brain surgery

Earlier this week I had to chance to scrub in and assist* on brain surgery. Very, very cool.

This article describes the way it's done at the hospital where I'm based. I assisted the neurosurgeon featured in the article - he's a great teacher and very nice.

This MRI-guided surgery is interesting, but it takes a long time. It took over an hour for the patient to be prepped and anaesthetised. Then the initial scans and planning took over an hour. After all that waiting, it was a relief to finally scrub and get started. I ended up leaving after 5.5 hours, when the operation halted for more scanning. The scan showed a lot of tumour still to be removed, so the operation would have continued for several more hours.

More on neuro at the end of the rotation. I need to get back to preparing for the long case, which is in 2 weeks. Eeek!

* There's not much a medical student can offer when it comes to assisting on brain surgery! I was in charge of irrigation during drilling, and suction. I was pleased to discover that watching the surgeon drill through the surprisingly thick skull didn't bother me at all.

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