Brazilians training in neurosurgery impressed by American medical technology

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Brazilians training in neurosurgery impressed by American medical technology

Since Sept. 27, a group of Brazilian physicians who are now residents in neurosurgery have been in Jacksonville, taking part in “Techniques and Technologies in Neurosurgery,” a program that is a collaborative effort of the Brazilian Society of Neurosurgery and Lyerly Neurosurgery, which is part of Baptist Health.

Most of the training has been done at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville. But last week the residents spent time in the lab at Medtronic, a medical technology company that has an office on Jacksonville’s Southside. There they practiced techniques on high-tech mannequins.

They visited a lab Thursday at Zimmer Biomet, a medical device company that has an office near the Jacksonville International Airport. There, they practiced a technique for bypassing a brain aneurysm demonstrated by Ricardo Hanel, who is co-medical director of the Baptist Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center. They later practiced the technique on cadaver heads.

For Hanel, providing training to young Brazilian physicians was a chance to help the country where he was born and raised. Hanel earned his medical degree, then did his internship and residency in neurosurgery, in Brazil.

After that he did fellowships at the State University of New York at Buffalo and at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, Ariz.

“We can expose young Brazilians to what is outside their training,” Hanel said. “… If you train you get better.”

Orlando Maia, a Brazilian neurosurgeon who is head of the Brazilian Society of Neurosurgeons, said the 12 residents participating in the program were picked on merit based on an annual test Brazilian residents undergo.

While the training in Brazil is good, the difference in technology and in intensity is like day and night, Hanel said.

The were probably about 750 neurosurgical procedures performed in Brazil last year, he said.

“I alone do 750 surgeries a year,” he said. He also said the variety of conditions treated in the U.S. is much greater.

Maia, who spoke in Portuguese with Hanel translating for him, said the students were impressed by a much more open minded way of doing things among Jacksonville caregivers.

“It’s a very collegial environment,” Hanel said on Maia’s behalf. “In Brazil it’s much more hierarchical.”

“It’s very good to be here,” said Jose Almeida, who recently completed his residency. “We’ve seen a lot of complex procedures and a lot of technology. It’s interesting to see how the American health system works.”

“It’s a great program,” said Caio Tamnus. “We got the opportunity to know the system of care in Jacksonville. We had the opportunity to see the robotic spine center. And the microscopes are better here.”

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” said resident Renan Lovato. “… They have so much more technology available.”

Jacksonville also has some interesting food choices, Lovato said.

“I tasted gator tail,” he said. “I liked it.”

Friday is the last day of the program with Eric Sauvageau, Hanel’s co-medical director of the Baptist Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center, scheduled to show the residents operating rooms at Baptist’s downtown campus.

Hanel said he plans to do a similar program with a group of Chinese neurosurgery residents in March and then bring in a new group of Brazilian residents next year.


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