The Face of Neurosurgery

Guest Post from Deborah L. Benzil, MD, FACS, FAANS
Member, AANS Board of Directors
Chair, AANS/CNS Communications and Public Relations Committee
Columbia University Medical Center
Mt Kisco, New York

new-asthma1During Sir Bob Geldof’s talk at the 2014 Opening Ceremonies of the 82nd AANS Annual Scientific Meeting, he suggested that neurosurgery (brain surgery) has supplanted rocket science as the apex of intellectual challenges. The resultant sentence now reads: I can do that; it’s not rocket science brain surgery. Despite Geldof’s enormous accomplishments and exposure to the span of continents, he carried a distinct image of what neurosurgery was and thus who neurosurgeons are.

Often the media reinforce the notion that physicians are elite, unreachable, hardworking, driven, high achieving, exclusive and detached. There is no question, the road to becoming a neurosurgeon is long and arduous (4 years undergraduate, 4 years medical school and a minimum of 7 years of residency), and for most neurosurgeons, an average workweek tops 60 hours and includes many nights and weekends on call. However, neurosurgeons are not a homogenous group sheltered behind ivy-covered walls or the walls of our operating rooms. Many are mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, philanthropists, humanitarians, educators, mentors, writers and artists.

We want to show you all these Faces of Neurosurgery! There are so many wonderful stories of the courage, persistence, and generosity of so many of our specialty. The variety of roads traveled to become neurosurgeons is also notable. Faces of Neurosurgery will be a regular feature of Neurosurgery Blog, helping to show a side of us that much of the world knows little about. These many and varied experiences have helped shaped our understanding of how to provide the best quality care to all our patients and informs our views on how the healthcare system can learn from these efforts. Stay tuned!

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