Los Angeles, CA
Cedars Sinai Medical
In my case college, then 4 years of med school, 7 years of neurosurgery residency and two fellowships afterwards: total of 8.5 years of training beyond med school. Endurance, an ability to get the job done, dexterity and understanding of anatomy are required.
Always had a drive for challenge, loved biology and was fascinated by the nervous system.
I operate primarily on the spine and spinal cord. This entails treating problems with the structure of the spinal column like fractures, disc herniations and scoliosis in addition to intrinsic spinal cord problems like spinal cord tumors. I also do brain surgery for trauma: I take out blood clots that are causing pressure in the brain and I fix skull fractures. Two days a week I see patients, three days a week I operate. Typically I round at 6:30 am and am operating by 7:30 am. I tend to do three to 6 cases a day when I’m operating and I’m done anywhere between 4 and 10 pm. I also teach, write books and publish papers.
Decision making can be tough. Especially with sick patients. Sometimes the best surgical plans go to waste as the patient is unsuitable for the operating room secondary to coexisting medical comorbidities which means sometimes people have multiple illnesses such as diabetes or being massively overweight and this leads to what would be a relatively easy procedure turning into a medical nightmare. Thus the decision to operate must be made very carefully weighing many factors beyond a brain or spine problem.
Seeing you make a difference, whether its someone in pain being pain free, or a person who you evaluated with a neurologic deficit (e.g. weakness) who has substantially improved. I also remove a lot of tumors. That can be very rewarding.
Study hard and hunker down. It’s a long road ahead and the competition is fierce.
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