The compendia of medical knowledge of the great ancient Indian physicians Suśruta, Caraka, Jīvaka, and Vāgbhaṭa all attest to the practice of neurosurgery and neurology starting in the 1st millennium bce. Although a period of scientific stagnation ensued between the 12th and 20th centuries ce, Indian medical neurosciences once again flourished after India’s independence from British rule in 1947. The pioneers of modern Indian neurosurgery, neurology, and their ancillary fields made numerous scientific and clinical discoveries, advancements, and innovations that proved influential on a global scale. Most importantly, the efforts of Indian neurosurgeons and neurologists were unified at the national level through the Neurological Society of India, which was established in 1951 and enabled an unprecedented degree of collaboration within the aforementioned medical specialties. The growth and success of the Indian model bears several lessons that can be applied to other nations in order to garner better collaboration among neurosurgeons, neurologists, and physicians in related fields. Here, the authors elaborate on the origins, growth, and development of neurosurgery and neurology in India and discuss their current state in order to glean valuable lessons on interdisciplinary collaboration, which forms the basis of the authors’ proposal for the continued growth of societies dedicated to medical neurosciences across the world.
Anurag Modak, Bharath Raju, Fareed Jumah, Margaret Pain, Gaurav Gupta, and Anil Nanda
Evgenii Belykh, Irakliy Abramov, Liudmila Bardonova, Ruchi Patel, Sarah McBryan, Lara Enriquez Bouza, Neil Majmundar, Xiaochun Zhao, Vadim A. Byvaltsev, Stephen A. Johnson, Amit Singla, Gaurav Gupta, Hai Sun, James K. Liu, Anil Nanda, Mark C. Preul, and Michael T. Lawton
Microsurgical training remains indispensable to master cerebrovascular bypass procedures, but simulation models for training that accurately replicate microanastomosis in narrow, deep-operating corridors are lacking. Seven simulation bypass scenarios were developed that included head models in various surgical positions with premade approaches, simulating the restrictions of the surgical corridors and hand positions for microvascular bypass training. This study describes these models and assesses their validity.
Simulation models were created using 3D printing of the skull with a designed craniotomy. Brain and external soft tissues were cast using a silicone molding technique from the clay-sculptured prototypes. The 7 simulation scenarios included: 1) temporal craniotomy for a superficial temporal artery (STA)–middle cerebral artery (MCA) bypass using the M4 branch of the MCA; 2) pterional craniotomy and transsylvian approach for STA-M2 bypass; 3) bifrontal craniotomy and interhemispheric approach for side-to-side bypass using the A3 branches of the anterior cerebral artery; 4) far lateral craniotomy and transcerebellomedullary approach for a posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA)–PICA bypass or 5) PICA reanastomosis; 6) orbitozygomatic craniotomy and transsylvian-subtemporal approach for a posterior cerebral artery bypass; and 7) extended retrosigmoid craniotomy and transcerebellopontine approach for an occipital artery–anterior inferior cerebellar artery bypass. Experienced neurosurgeons evaluated each model by practicing the aforementioned bypasses on the models. Face and content validities were assessed using the bypass participant survey.
A workflow for model production was developed, and these models were used during microsurgical courses at 2 neurosurgical institutions. Each model is accompanied by a corresponding prototypical case and surgical video, creating a simulation scenario. Seven experienced cerebrovascular neurosurgeons practiced microvascular anastomoses on each of the models and completed surveys. They reported that actual anastomosis within a specific approach was well replicated by the models, and difficulty was comparable to that for real surgery, which confirms the face validity of the models. All experts stated that practice using these models may improve bypass technique, instrument handling, and surgical technique when applied to patients, confirming the content validity of the models.
The 7 bypasses simulation set includes novel models that effectively simulate surgical scenarios of a bypass within distinct deep anatomical corridors, as well as hand and operator positions. These models use artificial materials, are reusable, and can be implemented for personal training and during microsurgical courses.
Sarfraz Akmal, Fareed Jumah, Elizabeth E. Ginalis, Bharath Raju, and Anil Nanda
Charles Jacques Bouchard was a distinguished French physician and scientist of the early 19th century. Despite his humble beginnings, Bouchard was able to achieve meteoric success within the scientific and medical fields, establishing himself as one of the most influential physician-scientists of his time. This was in part due to his superb commitment, as well as the prosperity engendered by the strong influence of his teachers, which can be seen as a testament to the importance of mentorship in medicine. Besides his myriad contributions, Bouchard is most well known for describing the Charcot-Bouchard aneurysm in 1866 alongside his mentor Jean-Martin Charcot, linking them for the first time to intracranial hemorrhage. Bouchard’s thesis entitled “A Study of Some Points in the Pathology of Cerebral Hemorrhage” was regarded by some as the most original and important of all recent works on the subject of cerebral hemorrhage at the time of publication. Sadly, the great relationship Bouchard shared with his mentor Charcot would later deteriorate into perhaps one of the most well-known student-mentor quarrels in the history of medicine. Herein, the authors present a historical recollection of Bouchard’s life, career, and contributions to medicine, as well as the famous controversy with Jean-Martin Charcot.
Ahmad Ozair, Vivek Bhat, and Anil Nanda
Surgical specialties, and particularly neurosurgery, have historically had and continue to have poor representation of female trainees. This is especially true of South Asia, considering the added social and cultural expectations for women in this region. Yet it was in India, with its difficult history of gender relations, that Asia’s first fully qualified female neurosurgeon, Dr. T. S. Kanaka (1932–2018), took root, flourished, and thereafter played an integral role in helping develop stereotactic and functional neurosurgery in the country. While a few biographical accounts of her exist, highlighted here are the lessons from her illustrious life for neurosurgical trainees and educators worldwide, along with the instances that exemplify those lessons, drawn from several hitherto unutilized primary sources. These lessons are consistent with the factors identified in previous systematic reviews to be contributing to gender disparities in neurosurgery. Many of the virtues that ensured her success are attributes that continue to be critical for a neurosurgical career. Additionally, the circumstances that helped Kanaka succeed have been recounted as considerations for those working to promote diversity and inclusion. Finally, her life choices and sacrifices are described, which are underexplored but relevant concerns for women in neurosurgery.
Tina Lulla, Rosemary T. Behmer Hansen, Cynthia A. Smith, Nicole A. Silva, Nitesh V. Patel, and Anil Nanda
Gender disparities in neurosurgery have persisted even as the number of female medical students in many countries has risen. An understanding of the current gender distribution of neurosurgeons around the world and the possible factors contributing to country-specific gender disparities is an important step in improving gender equity in the field.
The authors performed a systematic review of studies pertaining to women in neurosurgery. Papers listed in PubMed in the English language were collected. A modified grounded theory approach was utilized to systematically identify and code factors noted to contribute to gender disparities in neurosurgery. Statistical analysis was performed with IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows.
The authors identified 39 studies describing the density of women neurosurgeons in particular regions, 18 of which documented the proportion of practicing female neurosurgeons in a single or in multiple countries. The majority of these studies were published within the last 5 years. Eight factors contributing to gender disparity were identified, including conference representation, the proverbial glass ceiling, lifestyle, mentoring, discrimination, interest, salary, and physical burden.
The topic of women in neurosurgery has received considerable global scholarly attention. The worldwide proportion of female neurosurgeons varies by region and country. Mentorship was the most frequently cited factor contributing to noted gender differences, with lifestyle, the glass ceiling, and discrimination also frequently mentioned. Future studies are necessary to assess the influence of country-specific sociopolitical factors that push and pull individuals of all backgrounds to enter this field.
Michael T. C. Poon, Jorge Gaete-Villegas, Paul M. Brennan, and Jacques Fleuriot
Michael T. C. Poon, Jorge Gaete-Villegas, Paul M. Brennan, and Jacques Fleuriot
Bharath Raju, Fareed Jumah, Vinayak Narayan, Anika Sonig, Hai Sun, and Anil Nanda
The earliest evidence of man’s attempts in communicating ideas and emotions can be seen on cave walls and ceilings from the prehistoric era. Ingenuity, as well as the development of tools, allowed clay tablets to become the preferred method of documentation, then papyrus and eventually the codex. As civilizations advanced to develop structured systems of writing, knowledge became a power available to only those who were literate. As the search to understand the intricacies of the human brain moved forward, so did the demand for teaching the next generation of physicians. The different methods of distributing information were forced to advance, lest the civilization falls behind. Here, the authors present a historical perspective on the evolution of the mediums of illustration and knowledge dissemination through the lens of neurosurgery. They highlight how the medium of choice transitioned from primitive clay pots to cutting-edge virtual reality technology, aiding in the propagation of medical literature from generation to generation across the centuries.
Kanwaljeet Garg, Ravi Sharma, Amol Raheja, Vivek Tandon, Varidh Katiyar, Chinmaya Dash, Rishi Bhatnagar, Mohan Kumar Khullar, Bharath Raju, Anil Nanda, and Shashank S. Kale
Despite the rising trend of medicolegal challenges in India, there is an absolute dearth of literature from India on this issue. The authors conducted a survey, to their knowledge a first of its kind, to assess the perceptions of Indian neurosurgeons about the medicolegal challenges faced in everyday practice.
An anonymous online survey performed using Google Forms was widely circulated among neurosurgeons practicing in India via email and social media platforms. The questionnaire consisted of 38 questions covering the various aspects of medicolegal issues involved in neurosurgery practice.
A total of 221 survey responses were received, out of which 214 responses were included in the final analysis, barring 7 responders who had no work experience in India. The respondents were categorized according to their working arrangements and work experience. Out of all of the respondents, 20 (9.3%) had ≥ 1 malpractice suits filed against them. More than 90% of the respondents believed that malpractice suits are on the rise in India. Almost half of the respondents believed the advent of teleconsultation is further compounding the risk of malpractice suits, and 66.4% of respondents felt that they were inadequately trained during residency to deal with medicolegal issues. Most respondents (88.8%) felt that neurosurgeons working in the government sector had lesser chances of facing litigations in comparison to those working in the private sector. The practice of obtaining video proof of consent was more commonly reported by respondents working in freelancing and private settings (45.1%) and those with multiple affiliations (61.3%) compared to respondents practicing in government settings (22.8%) (p < 0.001). Neurosurgeons working in the private sector were more likely to alter management and refer sick patients to higher-volume treatment centers to avoid malpractice suits than their government counterparts (p = 0.043 and 0.006, respectively). The practices pertaining to legal preparedness were also found to be significantly higher among the respondents from the private sector (p < 0.001).
This survey highlights the apprehensions of neurosurgeons in India with regard to rising malpractice suits and the subsequent increase of defensive neurosurgical practices, especially in the private sector. A stronger legal framework for providing for quick redress of patient complaints, while deterring frivolous malpractice suits, can go a long way to allay these fears. There is a dire need for systematic training of neurosurgeons regarding legal preparedness, which should begin during residency.
Bharath Raju, Fareed Jumah, Omar Ashraf, Vinayak Narayan, Gaurav Gupta, Hai Sun, Patrick Hilden, and Anil Nanda
Big data has transformed into a trend phrase in healthcare and neurosurgery, becoming a pervasive and inescapable phrase in everyday life. The upsurge in big data applications is a direct consequence of the drastic boom in information technology as well as the growing number of internet-connected devices called the Internet of Things in healthcare. Compared with business, marketing, and other sectors, healthcare applications are lagging due to a lack of technical knowledge among healthcare workers, technological limitations in acquiring and analyzing the data, and improper governance of healthcare big data. Despite these limitations, the medical literature is flooded with big data–related articles, and most of these are filled with abstruse terminologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, artificial neural network, and algorithm. Many of the recent articles are restricted to neurosurgical registries, creating a false impression that big data is synonymous with registries. Others advocate that the utilization of big data will be the panacea to all healthcare problems and research in the future. Without a proper understanding of these principles, it becomes easy to get lost without the ability to differentiate hype from reality. To that end, the authors give a brief narrative of big data analysis in neurosurgery and review its applications, limitations, and the challenges it presents for neurosurgeons and healthcare professionals naive to this field. Awareness of these basic concepts will allow neurosurgeons to understand the literature regarding big data, enabling them to make better decisions and deliver personalized care.