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28 July 2010

The Brain Drain

So, I am on the Neurosurgery service this month, and one of my responsibilities is learning how to place ventriculostomies.  They look like this...

As I mentioned in my prior post, they serve to help monitor the pressure inside of the skull, and can be used as a means of releasing pressure if it starts to get too high.

You basically find your landmarks, put some anesthesia into the skin, drill a hole, hit the right spot, slide the tube in, connect it to the monitor, and then sew everything in place.  Before you get too freaked out, remember that the patients we are putting these into are the victims of head trauma.  So far I have helped put in four. 

Last night I put in one under CT guidance.  That's where we get a CAT scan, put the tube in part way, get a CAT scan, adjust, and repeat until we have it in the right position.  At one point I was leaning against the machine, standing on one foot, drilling the hole while my attending leaned against my shoulder to make sure I was heading in the right direction.

Again, while I can't talk about specifics, these are a few of the patients we are currently monitoring:

 - gun shot wound to head
 - hit while riding bicycle
 - roll-over car accident, not wearing their seatbelt
 - intoxicated and fell off moving vehicle
 - assaulted and hit on head
 - not wearing helmet and flipped over front of bicycle

It's just been a week, but it's turning out to be a great learning experience so far!


Claudia's thoughts said...

If it weren't for human stupidity we would be unemployed.....

Julie said...

Accidents = job security. Sad but true.