Dr. Blumenthal is in China for two weeks training Chinese physicians and performing surgeries. He has been updating us throughout his trip. This is a recap of his first week in his words…..
The trip so far is anything but dull. I have learned that making any kind of plans is futile since the schedule (daily and overall) changes frequently. It looks like I will be in Suzhou the entire 2 week rotation. You do one clinic day for every surgery day. There were no patients teed up for surgery but they walk into clinic by droves. The junior doctors present the cases and x-rays, you see the patients then give an opinion.
Dr. Blumenthal with his team
My first 2 patients had what I used to consider severe myelopathy but by the end of the day were the mildest cases. I saw tumors (including a grapefruit sized chondrosarcoma of the C spine) and pedi spine (a toticolis and a tethered cord)-they even snuck in a tibial tumor. The good news is that you only do the cases that you are comfortable with.
Dr. Blumenthal performing surgery
Overall we saw about 40 patients and operating on 3 today. My first case was a C 3-4 fusion. The other is an ADR (Activ-C) and a discectomy.
X-ray of a cervical Hybrid (disc replacement and fusion)
Operating is a challenge…Now add trying to ask for instruments in Mandarin. Having said that it is a great experience if you can go with the flow-its amazing how much surgery you can do with only a few instruments.
Scott Blumenthal, MD