Alan Cohen, M.D.
Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) Meeting
Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
Oct. 7-11, 2017
Alan Cohen Will Be Meeting’s Honored Guest
The CNS has named Alan Cohen, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, as the honored guest for the 2017 annual meeting. During each general scientific session, he will speak about a different topic: humility, simplicity and curiosity. First, using stories from the history of neurosurgery, Cohen plans to encourage his fellow neurosurgeons to have the humility to recognize the vulnerability of patients and their families and the courage to enter into a relationship with them because, as William Osler said, “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” In his second talk, Cohen will warn against getting distracted by the technically sophisticated parts of a surgery at the expense of the fundamental aspects such as surgical planning, patient positioning and handling of the tissue. Finally, he will speak about how curiosity has fueled important advances in the field of neurosurgery, including two that he has worked on: minimally invasive removal of pediatric brain tumors and using patient-specific 3D-printed models to prepare for difficult surgeries.
Course: Starting a Fetal Myelomeningocele Surgery Program
Monday, Oct. 9, 12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., Room 204A
Faculty: Edward Ahn, Gregory Heuer, Carolyn Quinsey, Charles B. Stevenson, Leslie N. Sutton
Outcomes for unborn children with myelomeningocele, the most severe form of spina bifida, improve drastically if the exposed spinal cord can be surgically enclosed in utero at 20 to 26 weeks gestation. Unfortunately, few hospitals are prepared to do the complex surgery, which requires the pre- and postoperative coordination of physicians from many specialties. In this course, Edward Ahn, M.D., and colleagues will speak about the need for more fetal myelomeningocele surgery programs and how to get them started. Their goal is to make this life-changing procedure more accessible to every family in the country.
Ahn has now treated five patients as part of a pilot program at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He uses a minimally invasive technique developed by a team of physicians at Texas Children’s Hospital who have been training him and his team over the last year. By using scopes to guide their actions, surgeons can make small incisions, decreasing trauma for the mother and consequently decreasing the risk of preterm labor. This early intervention protects the spinal cord from further damage and improves outcomes for children, including effects on the brain and the ability to walk.
Course: Educating Neurosurgeons: The Science and Art of Teaching Surgery
Monday, Oct. 9, 12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., Room 102A
Faculty: Judy Huang, Nicholas Barbaro, W. Christopher Fox, Stacey Wolfe
In addition to staying current with the latest surgical techniques, faculty must keep their teaching techniques up-to-date. In this course, Judy Huang, M.D., and colleagues will discuss how to adapt teaching strategies to generational, gender and cultural differences and the constraints faced by today’s neurosurgeon trainees.
Since 2003, residents have been limited to an 80-hour work week, giving them less one-on-one time with faculty and decreasing the variety of cases they can observe. To compensate, many universities, including Johns Hopkins, set up simulation labs where students can practice basic techniques, such as suturing arteries, on animal models or on engineered constructs. Digital-age learners are also turning to videos to view uncommon operations. Then, when seeing patients with senior faculty, they can focus on the uniquely human part of being a surgeon, such as the art of caring and how to anticipate, prevent and solve problems, which is best learned in real time from a mentor.
Case-based Discussion Session: Management in Pediatric Athletes
Tuesday, Oct. 10, 4:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., Room 258A
Faculty: Mari L. Groves, Lance Governale, Andrew Jea, Christina M. Sayama
Come observe pediatric neurosurgeons deliberate their next move. In this discussion session, the moderator will present four panelists with real cases they’ve never seen before. Their goal is to design the best treatment plan for each patient, grappling with questions such as, “Do we operate right away or see if the injury improves on its own?” and “Is this child ready to return to the playing field?” The cases presented will include examples of worst case scenarios that might be encountered while playing sports. Pediatric spine specialist Mari Groves, M.D. will be available afterward and by appointment.