Menu

Neurosurgery Residency, Mysteries of the Brain


I date my singular dedication to neurosurgery to the moment when I was observing an aneurysm clipping as a second year medical student. I had studied the brain’s structural intricacies, seen hundreds of MRI images of it during my research years, and learned about its diseases; yet I was completely awestricken seeing it while still in a living person just a few feet from me. I vividly remember the moment when the aneurysm clip wrapped around the neck of the terrible outpouching of the patient’s middle cerebral artery and I remember feeling the wave of relief that spread over the room as the aneurysm’s dome instantly changed color from an angry brown to a placid white. Not able to contain myself at that sight, I turned to the resident next to me and remarked “that is the coolest thing I have ever seen in my life.”

Always interested in the mysteries of the brain, as an undergraduate I double majored in neurobiology and psychology. A course taught by a neurologist which covered stroke, epilepsy, spinal cord injury and more excited my passion for clinical neuroscience. I was fascinated by the way that disruption of neural circuits or blood supply can cause conditions ranging from epilepsy or paresis to subtle things like memory and personality changes. The material had such a profound effect on me that I dedicated the next few years studying the biological correlates of mental function using structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging. The technical nature of these research methods and the necessity for simultaneously applying knowledge of neuroanatomy, mathematics, statistics, physics, and psychology attracted me to the field.

My research experiences solidified my desire to go into a neuroscience-related field and I entered medical school with aspirations to further my understanding of the central nervous system and the manifestations of its diseases. During my preclinical years, I excelled in neuroscience coursework and was recently asked to be a teaching assistant for the first year neuroscience course at our school. I was also able to find a research project applying my neuroimaging skills to studying the brain’s recovery of function after stroke. During my first summer in medical school I spent time shadowing interventional neuroradiologists. While watching an aneurysm coiling one day, the radiologist I was observing suggested that I watch an aneurysm clipping to familiarize myself with the surgical option for treatment of this disease. That suggestion led me to my first time in the neurosurgical operating room which I described above.

Since that day, I have never been able to get neurosurgery out of my mind. As a second year medical student, I attended Grand Rounds in an effort to learn about the breadth of the field and shadowed residents in the County neurosurgery clinic to get a better understanding of patient care from diagnosis through treatment and follow-up. I took on an additional research project applying neuroimaging to new technology in functional neurosurgery and I have become excited by the prospect of technology restoring function to those that have lost it due to neurological disease.

Late in my third year of medical school, during my first neurosurgery rotation, I made my final decision. Every day, as I experienced the range of neurosurgical interventions, I was humbled by the complexity of the nervous system and inspired by the neurosurgeon’s way of navigating it to produce positive impacts on patients’ lives. I was excited reasoning through the diagnosis of neurological diseases in clinic, enjoyed the neurosurgeon’s role in intensive care of critically ill patients, and daily I looked forward to participating in the detailed and technical surgeries in the operating room.

My decision to go into neurosurgery has evolved steadily – thoroughly influenced by all of my experiences but with a deep fascination with neuroscience always its center. Building on my background and previous experiences, I now eagerly anticipate my career in neurosurgery. I am excited for the opportunity to continually apply my passion for neuroscience to patient care, to carry out research to further the field, and to learn the techniques and skills necessary to treat diseases of the nervous system.

Go Back

Comment