Skull Base Surgery
Skull base surgery is a marvel of modern medicine, where surgeons venture into the deepest recesses of the cranium, pushing the boundaries of what is accessible. In this frontier of medicine, neurosurgeons must be both artists and engineers, delicately manipulating the labyrinth of structures that compose the skull base using the smallest of surgical instruments and tools. Here, skull base surgeons navigate through the intricate landscape of vital nerves and blood vessels, seeking to repair or remove structures that are diseased or abnormal, without disrupting the functioning of the brain or cranial nerves. It is a testament to the power of human determination—to our ability to understand and control our own physiology. A remarkable journey into the depths of the human anatomy, where the goal is to cure disease and prolong lives, guided by the light of science and the brilliance of human ingenuity.
We are committed to the advancement of the art and science of neurological surgery through excellence in research, education, and the maintenance of scientific and clinical scholarship. To this end, we provide skills-based educational opportunities and training for surgeons and medical students from countries throughout the world, and convey emerging medical knowledge to practitioners by offering educational activities that contribute to improved surgical practice and clinical research.
Today, the apprenticeship model of see one, do one, teach one, is the basis for surgical education and forms the irreplaceable foundation for surgical knowledge. However, the inability to alter or repeat surgical steps in order to satisfy or expand educational objectives, combined with the limits of performing only what is clinically warranted and the inherent stress of live surgery, render the operating room a far from perfect classroom for learning or refining surgical skills. Surgical education today involves subjecting patients to the learning curves of trainees, and while this will remain a major hurdle for the foreseeable future, we can begin to transfer that learning curve to a non-patient environment and provide hands-on experience, not limited by volume of cases, while using technology to help visualize and foster clinical competence. As such, we have created a competency-based model of training known as skills-based medicine.
Skills-based medicine is an approach to surgical education and practice that promotes the primacy of technical skills and capabilities and allows practitioners to develop fluent proficiency in new skills, procedures, and technologies that are not in one’s procedural repertoire, while promoting the development of mechanisms that allow for this and the associated learning curves to be traversed in non-patient based learning environments.
Additionally, skills-based medicine is an approach that helps reinforce the accuracy and replicability of evidence-based medicine by reducing heterogeneity in surgical skills and armamentaria. We strongly believe in emphasizing the surgical component of neurosurgery and sufficiently educating residents and fellows in surgical skills and anatomy in order to adequately prepare them for the full scope of independent practice.
Our Training Philosophy
- Learn the anatomy while ignoring the surgical approach; understanding the approach will come naturally once you understand the surgical anatomy
- When approaching your dissection, do not follow any books or guides; let the cadaver be your reference and guide your dissection
- Confidence with the surgical drill is invaluable; get to the point where the drill is an extension of your hand
- Skull base surgery is all about unlocking structures; fully understanding the anatomy spatially allows you to safely maximize exposure
- There are surgical skills and pearls that cannot be learned through reading; spending time dissecting will help develop these skills
- Utilizing these techniques surgically takes little time and can significantly enhance surgical visualization and maneuverability, making your job much easier