Advanced Search
Current and Breaking News for Professionals, Consumers and Media



Click here to learn how to advertise on this site and for ad rates.

News : National Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Nov 15, 2017 - 9:51:02 AM



How Old is Too Old to Perform Brain Surgery?

By Staff Editor
Nov 15, 2017 - 9:45:25 AM



Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Ezine
For Email Marketing you can trust


Email this article
 Printer friendly page

(HealthNewsDigest.com) - ROCHESTER, Minn. — People sometimes joke that easy tasks are “not brain surgery.” But what happens when it actually is brain surgery? How old is too old to be a neurosurgeon? In a new Mayo Clinic Proceedings study, most neurosurgeons disagreed with an absolute age cutoff, but half favored additional testing for neurosurgeons 65 and older.

Some professions, including commercial pilots, FBI agents and air traffic controllers, have mandatory retirement ages. This study is the first to survey neurosurgeons on their attitudes toward ceasing practice and testing in late career.

“With an aging physician workforce nationwide, this study’s intriguing responses deserve reflection by the neurosurgical community,” says senior author Fredric Meyer, M.D., executive dean of education, Mayo Clinic, who is executive director of the American Board of Neurological Surgery. Dr. Meyer is the Juanita Kious Waugh Executive Dean of Education and the Alfred Uihlein Family Professor of Neurologic Surgery.

“It’s important to focus on patient safety and also assess a neurosurgeon’s capacity over time,” Dr. Meyer says. “In the future, surgical simulator training and testing may become essential in continuing assessment of a surgeon’s technical and cognitive competency.”

Training to become a neurosurgeon is a lengthy process — typically four years of medical school, seven years in neurosurgical residency and frequently an additional year of post-residency fellowship. Neurosurgeons may perform surgery on the brain, spine or any part of the central nervous system.

Of 4,899 neurosurgeons surveyed, 1,449 (30 percent) responded to an anonymous and confidential questionnaire. Most respondents, 938 (65 percent), were 50 and older.

Asked how to fairly evaluate aging neurosurgeons, respondents said:

  • There should be no absolute age cutoff, 956 (66 percent).
  • Neurosurgeons 65 and older should undergo additional testing, including cognitive assessment or a review of cases, in addition to a standard Maintenance of Certification exam, 718 (50 percent).
  • A Maintenance of Certification exam should include individual case log and patient outcome review, 766 (59 percent).
  • A Maintenance of Certification exam should be tailored to accommodate the aging neurosurgeon, 606 (42 percent).

Because more than one-third of U.S. surgeons are older than 55, the issues raised in the study will be important to other surgical disciplines, notes Kerry Olsen, M.D., a Mayo Clinic otorhinolaryngologist, in an accompanying editorial.

“Deciding when to end one’s surgical practice can be an extremely difficult decision,” says Dr. Olsen, who no longer performs surgery. He suggests interventions such as assisting surgeons with ergonomics to prevent work-related injuries, asking younger colleagues for honest assessment of one’s skills, and creating opportunities for hospitals and clinics to use surgeons’ talents beyond being “captain of the operating room suite.”

Dr. Olsen is the Joseph I. and Barbara Ashkins Professor of Surgery.

Additional researchers involved in the study were:

Their work was supported by the American Board of Medical Specialties Visiting Scholars Program. The authors report potential competing interests in that Drs. Liau and Meyer serve on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Neurological Surgery.

###

About Mayo Clinic Proceedings
Mayo Clinic Proceedings is a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal that publishes original articles and reviews dealing with clinical and laboratory medicine, clinical research, basic science research and clinical epidemiology. Mayo Clinic Proceedings is sponsored by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research as part of its commitment to physician education. It publishes submissions from authors worldwide. The journal has been published for more than 80 years and has a circulation of 130,000. Articles are at mayoclinicproceedings.org.

###



Top of Page

HealthNewsDigest.com

National
Latest Headlines


+ A New Class of Drug to Treat Herpes Simplex Virus Infection
+ Wearable Technologies Help Olympians Achieve Top Performance
+ Brain Imaging Helps Redefine Intelligence
+ Scientists Create Most Sophisticated Human Liver Model Yet
+ Johns Hopkins Brings Therapy Dogs into ICU
+ A Surgeon Tells His Own Personal Story From the Receiving Side Rather Than the Treating Side
+ What Are The Advantages of Using Solar Panels In Your Home?
+ Taking Public Health to City Streets
+ Three-Year-Old Boy Receives the Gift of Life
+ Artificial Kidney Development Advances



Contact Us | Job Listings | Help | Site Map | About Us
Advertising Information | HND Press Release | Submit Information | Disclaimer

Site hosted by Sanchez Productions