ABC - BAsic Brain Surgery Course Milano-Genève Report

ABC - BAsic Brain Surgery Course Milano-Genève (Mi-Ge)

Dates: January 20th to 24th 2020

Locations: RCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta and Besta NeuroSim Center Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève and the SWISS Foundation for Innovation and Training in Surgery

Course directors:
Francesco DiMeco MD
Karl Schaller MD

Faculty members:
Torstein Meling MD PhD
Alessandro Perin MD PhD
Andrea Bartoli MD
Philpp Dammann MD

Between January 20th and 24th 2020, the second edition of the EANS Basic Brain Course took place (, offering the possibility to eight junior residents to be guided through the basics of neurosurgery. This course was born from a collaboration between the Besta NeuroSim Center (Milano) and the Swiss Foundation for Innovation and Training in Surgery (Genève). It has been structured in two parts: the first in Milano from 20th to 21th January; the second in Genève from 22th to 24th.

The course was specifically designed for very junior residents as a “driving licence to neurosurgery”, with the idea of covering the most basic yet important lessons for a happy and trouble-free career in neurosurgery. The main goal was to cover all the basic aspects neurosurgery, ensuring equal importance to both technical and non-technical skills. This experience was designed in modules, starting from the diagnostic path and communication with patients (portrayed by professional actors), moving to practical simulation sessions, and brief theoretical lectures and discussions regarding real cases and critical ethical aspects. Finally, the candidates joined cadaver-lab sessions in which they practiced basic emergency procedures and craniotomies.

In Milano three real cases were staged to challenge the residents with complex scenarios, from both a technical and a human/communication standpoint. Residents could discuss and rehearse each of these cases, then operate them on the Besta NeuroSim Center’s simulators, composed of a constellation of highly advanced machinery equipped with haptic feedback technology, allowing safe replication of the operating room (OR) environment. Different wet-lab stations allowed performance of lumbar puncture on a mannequin and removal of different tumour models using an ultrasonic aspirator.

The actors were specifically instructed to put the residents in distress and get them out of their comfort zone, to foster a dynamic discussion with their peers and faculty.

Genève offered theoretical lessons (made by faculty members) and discussions followed by hands-on sessions in the cadaver lab. The residents could improve their knowledge and competences regarding emergency procedures and craniotomies. Specifically, they learned the key tenets about how to perform an EVD placement, evacuate a chronic subdural hematoma, fashion a supratentorial and infratentorial decompressive craniectomy, and master both a sinus-crossing and a pterional craniotomy. A friendly environment in which faculty and residents had a peer to peer relationship was maintained throughout the course, making this close interaction and exchange one of the strengths of the course.

The feedback collected both from participants and faculty members was extremely positive, suggesting there will be a follow-up to this Course in the future.

für Neurochirurgie
SINch (Società Italiana di Neurochirurgia)
SYNS (Swiss Young Neurosurgeons Society)

Sponsors: Pro Med Instruments
Carlo Bianchi
Johnson and Johnson

August 2022