Dr. Michael Kaiser and Dr. Richard Anderson are two of the excellent neurosurgeons from two different Centers here at the Neurological Institute. Dr. Kaiser is Associate Director of The Spine Hospital, and Dr. Anderson is part of the Pediatric Neurosurgery Center. Dr. Anderson treats children with spinal disorders and Dr. Kaiser treats adults.
The two doctors recently put their experience and expertise together–but not in the operating room. Instead, they co-directed a course on spine surgery for other neurosurgeons.
The course was called “Cranio-Cervical and C1-C2 Stabilization Techniques, Surgical Approaches.” It was about an area of the upper spine, where the head and neck join together, called the cranio-cervical junction.
The cranio-cervical junction is basically the link between the head (cranium) and neck (cervical spine). Surgeons sometimes need to stabilize this link. Or they might need to stabilize the top two vertebrae in the cervical spine, also known as C1 and C2.
Take a look at the diagram on the right, which shows the cervical spine in red. Now imagine all the important structures that come together in the cranio-cervical area, where the head and neck meet. Brain stem, bones, muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, membranes and nerves all fit together in a relatively small space.
Neurosurgeons must consider all of these structures when planning the best way to access and treat a cranio-cervical problem. A neurosurgeon may plan a posterior approach (from the back of the neck), an anterior approach (from the front), transoral (through the mouth), or transnasal (through the nose).
In Dr. Anderson and Dr. Kaiser’s course, participants learned how to formulate surgical approaches to the cranio-cervical area. They also learned how to distinguish among the many types of cranio-cervical and C1-C2 problems that a neurosurgeon might encounter.
Course participants watched detailed presentations from the faculty, and then had a chance to participate in a hands-on demonstration with spine models.
The course took place at the AANS 2015 national meeting of neurosurgeons in Washington, D.C.
Both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Kaiser kept busy sharing their spine expertise at that meeting. Dr. Anderson was a panelist on spinal cord injury, while Dr. Kaiser was a panelist on cervical spondylotic myelopathy.
Dr. Kaiser also moderated “If I Could Do that Case Over Again,” a popular annual panel where experienced spine surgeons discuss complicated cases.
Read more about AANS 2015 here.
Thank you, doctors, for volunteering your time on these courses and panels.
Image credit, cervical vertebrae: Anatomography /BodyParts3D, © The Database Center for Life Science licensed under CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.1 Japan. [Google Translate]