There is a considerable discrepancy between the potential demand for neurosurgeons and the actual availability of such specialists not only in civilian settings but even more so in military operational environments.
For this reason, the Department of Neurosurgery at the German Armed Forces Hospital in Ulm conducts courses for surgeons and orthopedists on the management of patients with neurotrauma. Twelve such courses have already taken place. Each course lasts 1 week. Participants can expect to gain the theoretical knowledge and practical skills they need to provide initial surgical care for patients with traumatic brain injuries and/or spinal trauma. Surgical techniques are practiced above all in pig and human cadavers. At the end of the course, participants with previous surgical knowledge should be able to independently perform a craniotomy, from the planning of the procedure to the closure of the wound. Former course participants have successfully used their neurosurgical knowledge in countries of deployment where they managed patients during teleconsultation sessions and helped repatriate, or even provided surgical treatment to, patients with traumatic brain injuries. In these situations, it was particularly helpful when the physician deployed abroad and the neurosurgeon in Germany knew each other personally. In the future, efforts will be made to combine telemedicine and neuronavigation in an attempt to further improve direct support for physicians under military deployment conditions.