It doesn’t take a neurosurgeon…

Today I made a recommendation to a neurosurgeon to change his planned intervention…and he took it. A neurosurgeon with 7 years of subspecialty training in his field took the advice of a medical student, a suggestion in his area of expertise. You have no idea how much fluffier my ego got today.

A patient came in with her third recurrent aneurysm in the same spot. Initially it had been coiled in a less invasive procedure than the OR craniotomy, and when it showed up a few months later on the scan, he coiled it again. Today when reviewing the case he told me he was going to suggest to her we coil it again. Third presentation… this seems like kind of a hassle… so I said, “Why don’t we just clip it?” Surgically repairing an aneurysm with a clip successfully, if you can prove the aneurysm is gone, is definitive treatment–that aneurysm will never recur again; that patient doesn’t need follow up appointments or imaging again in their life.

He just looked at me blankly for a while and then said, very slowly… “We could do that, I guess… yes, we could do that…”

Like it had never occurred to him. He had probably just thought ihatn his usual way, t when a coiled aneurysm fails, the next step is to add more coils… and he would just do that again.

I’m telling you, today was monumental. I know I made a suggestion that I probably only could have as an outsider who isn’t submerged in the field everyday, where one does the same routine and follows the same protocols day in and day out. But it was like I could see the lightbulb slowly coming on behind his eyes at my suggestion. What a great feeling 🙂


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