Paired with elite neurosurgeons for one-to-one guidance, residents refined their skills for treating skull-based tumors, brain aneurysms and other complex procedures using cadavers rather than virtual simulations. This was the second annual Carle Illinois Microsurgery and Endoscopic Hands-On Course, which could not be held for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are trying to offer residents the best opportunities in the Midwest. We held the largest course of its kind in the Midwest and cadaver dissection is the best tool for teaching,” Wael Mostafa, MD, PhD, program lead for brain tumor and skull base surgery at Carle Health and course director.
Mostafa said, “What made me happy is seeing the faces of the residents as they were learning in person.”
Carle Health hosted the event Aug. 27-28 in conjunction with the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute, and the Health Care Engineering Systems Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Carle Health Center for Philanthropy provided financial support. The training was held at the university’s Medical Sciences Building, home of Carle Illinois College of Medicine.
The training not only provided rare educational opportunities for residents but also showcased surgical expertise available in the Midwest and other regions. Neurosurgeons traveled to Champaign-Urbana from throughout the country. This included Goodman Campbell Brain & Spine of Carmel IN, University of Maryland, University of Kansas, Cleveland Clinic/Abu Dhabi, Loyola University Medical Center, University of Missouri – Columbia, Medical College of Wisconsin and Indiana University.
Mustafa K. Baskaya, MD, a professor of neurosurgery at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, delivered the Khaled M. Abdel-Aziz annual lecture.
Tracey Mencio Wszalek, PhD, codirector of the Carle Illinois Advanced Imaging Center, said, “We used MRI imaging versus CT scans for neuronavigation to simulate real surgeries.” Wszalek, who is also director of the Biomedical Imaging Center at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at UIUC, said
“Wael’s relationships allowed for millions of dollars of equipment to be at the disposal of residents participating.”
She added that it was touching to see how many areas of expertise came together to provide the detail needed for the two days where residents and specialists attended at no cost. Dr. Mostafa specifically noted the interest from leaders James Leonard, MD, Carle Health president/CEO; and Mark Cohen, MD, dean and chief academic officer for Carle Illinois College of Medicine who attended aspects of the event.