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Neurosurgical Conferences
Throughout the residency, a variety of weekly conferences are conducted. A unique feature of the program is its dedicated educational protected time each Wednesday. During this time, we have didactic sessions throughout the morning and clinics in the afternoon. If urgent operative cases occur during this time, our neurosurgical physician assistants handle the service. This affords the neurosurgical resident the opportunity to have formal didactic teaching without interruption. The highlight of our academic program has been monthly Visiting Professor Lectureships with many of the giants of Neurosurgery. In addition to lectures, the residents routinely have extensive opportunities to present cases and interact with some of the most renowned neurosurgeons in the world. In accordance with the ACGME guidelines, our residents are required to take and pass the written examination of the American Board of Neurological Surgery before graduating from the program. The residents are also encouraged to do basic and clinical research, and to present and publish their findings.

Wednesday is a “protected” academic day with mandatory attendance at all conferences that occur after morning work rounds. If operative emergencies arise, surgeries are performed by attending physicians with physician extenders as assistants. The conferences are listed below.
A. Neurological Institute of New Jersey (NINJ) Rounds:
This is a combined Neurosurgery, Neuroscience, Neurology, Neuropathology and Neuroradiology Conference that occurs weekly on every Wednesday. Topics vary according to the week as explained below.

 Week One: This week includes a Neurology 1.5-hour case presentation by the neurology resident staff and attendings. A didactic lecture is incorporated into the presentation to examine a portion of the case presentation in depth, followed by basic Neuroscience Grand Rounds with an hour-long presentation of basic neuroscience interest.  

Week Two: This week includes Neurosurgical Grand Rounds, consisting of 1.5 hours of case presentations by the neurosurgical resident staff, with an incorporated didactic lecture that examines an aspect of the case presentation in greater detail. This is followed by a one-hour presentation by a visiting professor, usually an esteemed senior member of the neurosurgical community. Both the full-time and clinical faculty are expected to attend the neurosurgical Grand Rounds. Neurosurgeons throughout Northern and Central Jersey are invited to attend these rounds and to view this conference as a resource for their practice.

Week Three:  This week includes a case presentation/ Grand Rounds for 1.5 hours by the Pediatric Neurology service. Cases are presented by the pediatric neurology fellows and attendings. All faculty and resident staff are required to attend.

Week Four: This week includes a 1.5-hour Neurology case presentation by the neurology resident staff and attendings. A didactic lecture is incorporated into the presentation to thoroughly examine a portion of the case presentation. This is followed by a 1.5-hour adult neurology visiting lecture by a prominent member of the neurology community or a neurology attending lecture.

Week Five: In those months where a fifth week is present, Board Review and additional neuropathology review is conducted.

B. Neuropathology review: Every other Wednesday at 10:30 A.M., a 1.5-hour neuropathology conference is led by our Neuropathology faculty. Brain cutting is followed by a histological slide presentation and discussion of pathological findings. Neurosurgery residents are called upon to give patient history and, where appropriate, intraoperative slides and illustrations. Radiographic studies are reviewed by the neuroradiology faculty. 

C. Case presentation conference: Every Wednesday evening at 6:00 (once a month is devoted to Journal Club – see below), residents prepare and present one or two case histories with pertinent diagnostic studies and scans and operative treatment plans. The case is usually unknown to a portion of the resident and attending staff. Discussion centers first on presentation, then on differential diagnosis, then on most appropriate diagnostic studies, then on operative approaches, then on family discussions regarding risks and benefits, and finally on outcomes and decision points.

D. Journal Club: Once a month, on a Wednesday evening at 6:00. Each month a different attending is assigned to head Journal Club. Approximately four articles are chosen, one of which is a “classic” article on a topic that the particular attending has expertise in. Articles are discussed, reviewed, and critiqued.

E. Multidisciplinary Neuro-Oncology Tumor Board: This conference is organized and conducted by Dr. James Liu and is held on the first Wednesday of each month. Complex brain tumor and neuro-oncology cases are presented in a multi-disciplinary forum to discuss treatment and management. This involves services from Neurosurgery, Neurology, Neuropathology, Neuroradiology, Radiation Oncology, Neuro-Oncology and Medical Oncology, Neuro-Ophthalmology. All residents and full-time faculty are expected to attend these sessions.

F. Skull Base Cadaver Dissection Course: This course is taught every Wednesday during the month of August in the Skull Base Microsurgical Simulation Laboratory. The goal of this course is to train our residents to perform complex skull base approaches utilizing freshly injected cadaver heads to gain knowledge and experience with surgical anatomy and operative approaches to the skull base. The course is taught by Dr. James Liu and Dr. Chirag Gandhi. 

G. Monthly Skull Base and Pituitary Conference: This monthly conference is organized and conducted by Dr. James Liu and is held once a month on Wednesday evening at 5:30 pm. Highlighted complex skull base cases of the month are presented and discussion is focused on technical operative nuances, surgical approaches, surgical anatomy and avoidance of complications. Specialists from Otolaryngology, Neuro-ophthalmology, Neuroradiology, and Endocrinology are involved in this conference.