Excellence in neurosurgical care, education and research
Our approach to patient care, research and education is based on the excellence, commitment and dedication of all members of our multidisciplinary neurosurgical team and our partners.
The Divisions of Neurosurgery, Neurology and Orthopaedic Surgery (Spine Program) have established an Atlantic Canadian Academic Neuroscience Program. This program allows implementation of a collaborative best practice model, giving patients the most comprehensive care in Atlantic Canada, including prevention, intervention, long-term management, outreach and links to community providers.
The Atlantic Canadian Neurosurgery Residency Program at Dalhousie is designed to develop skilled neurosurgeons in the clinical care of neurosurgical patients. Our residents are exposed to a broad range of technical problem-solving and decision-making aspects of neurosurgery over a six-year period.
Research is foundational to our mission. Research teams in the Division carry out leading-edge research in several areas including spinal cord injury, brain tumours, traumatic brain injury, injury prevention, neuro-modulation, cerebrovascular disease and technology-based innovations in neurosurgical education. We believe that research and innovation ultimately lead to better patient care.
Commitment to Innovation
2015-16 saw a big change in the look and function of our Neurosurgery operating rooms. A state-of-the-art lighting and visualization system was installed. The system consists of the latest in LED lighting technology for a more consistent, brighter light with minimal shadowing. HD Cameras are located in the light handle and on an independent articulating arm in OR13. Boom mounted monitors are integrated into a video switching system that allows us to receive and send signals from any surgical video display device such as a microscope or C-Arm, as well as our hospital PACS imaging system. These video and camera inputs can be recorded to a video and still capture system. This setup provides for a less cluttered and more effective operative space as well as providing better visualization for training surgical residents.
Virtual Reality (VR) Lab
The Virtual Reality Lab was renovated with improved lighting and customizable workspaces. PeriopSim applications have been the main focus in the VR lab. In parallel to the IOS focused PeriopSim, we are developing a 3D version using the Occulus VR headset and STEM controllers for a full VR immersive environment. The project is led by Conquer Experience in conjunction with Sixense, the developers of the STEM controllers. Initial funding for these projects was provided through a grant from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Business Development Program.
Imaging and Image-Guided Surgery
We continue to investigate fMRI and have included MEG functional maps, merged with MR and PET on the OR Image-Guided work stations. These maps allow better localization for intra-operative mapping and resection for both tumour and epilepsy surgeries.
To supplement our image guidance with MR, CT and PET, DTI scans are loaded into the StealthViz software application (Medtronic Navigation, Louisville, CO) for fiber tracking to better understand the connecting pathways. These tracks are overlaid on various merged image sequences that are used for intra-operative navigation. Our work this year has focused mainly on mapping tracks to lesions, functional areas and the optic tract.
The Canadian Neurosurgery Rookie Camp
The Rookie Camp is a uniquely Canadian program that provides a learning-intensive environment and successful initiation for neurosurgery residents from across Canada who are beginning their six-year training program. Based on real patient scenarios, they are introduced to the technical, cognitive and behavioural skills needed in neurosurgery, a field that often involves high-stakes and life-and-death situations where efficient decision making is crucial. Camp material is developed collaboratively by experts from across the country, with top-notch teaching faculty attending the event from various institutions. Faculty and residents representing virtually every training program across Canada regularly attend. Teaching Faculty from Halifax's Division of Neurosurgery have participated in all of the Camps.
Dr. David Clarke was Founder, Director and first Camp Host in 2012. Since then, Camps have been hosted at various locations.
July 13-14, 2012: Halifax Surgical Skills Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax NS / Dr. David Clarke, Director and Camp Host
July 12-13, 2013: Halifax Surgical Skills Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax NS / Dr. David Clarke, Director and Camp Host
July 11-12, 2014: Halifax Surgical Skills Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax NS / Dr. David Clarke, Director and Camp Host
July 10-11, 2015: Surgical Medical Research Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton AB / Dr. David Clarke, Director / Dr. Cian O'Kelly, Camp Host
July 8-9, 2016: Surgical Medical Research Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton AB / Dr. David Clarke, Director / Dr. Cian O'Kelly, Camp Host
July 7-8, 2017: Halifax Surgical Skills Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax NS / Dr. Cian O'Kelly, Director / Dr. Sean Barry, Camp Host
July 6-7, 2018: Halifax Surgical Skills Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax NS / Dr. Cian O'Kelly, Director / Dr. Sean Barry, Camp Host
July 5-6, 2019: Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics, Western University, London ON / Dr. Cian O'Kelly, Director / Drs. Mel Boulton and Sandrine de Ribaupierre, Camp Hosts
The Canadian Neurosurgery Rookie Camp is endorsed by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s Specialty Committee in Neurosurgery and the Canadian Neurosurgical Society. A special thank you to past sponsors: Medtronic, J&J Codman, KLS Martin, Storz, Integra Canada and the Canadian Neurosurgical Society. We are also appreciative of the simulation technology provided by Conquer Experience Inc.