We’ve all heard the term “it’s not brain surgery,” but for some health care professionals it IS brain surgery they’re doing—every day.

Reasons for brain surgery include skull fracture, brain tumor, hematoma, hemorrhaging, aneurysm, nerve issues, epilepsy, movement disorders, and many more.

Advances are happening in this field constantly. Read on for surgical videos, news articles, and a new crossword puzzle to test your knowledge of the brain and brain surgeries.

Our Student in the Spotlight is Jacqueline Ward, APRN, of Mesa, AZ.

You’ll also find jobs we’ve collected for you, along with NIFA’s favorite links. Enjoy!


Julie Lancaster, Editor

NEWSTiny Mechanical Wrist for Needlescopic Surgery

A team of engineers and doctors at Vanderbilt University’s Medical Engineering and Discovery Laboratory have developed a new tool that provides greater dexterity in needlescopic surgery, where the surgical instruments are shrunk to the diameter of a sewing needle. View and read more . . .

Girl Undergoes New Laser Surgery to Remove Tumor

A girl who was suffering up to 50 seizures per day is living a seizure-free life following a new laser brain surgery procedure administered at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, AZ. View Fox news story . . .

Embryonic Twin Discovered in Woman’s Brain During Surgery in LA
Doctors who were set to perform brain surgery on a woman were shocked to find that instead of a tumor, she had an embryonic twin in her head.
View NBC news story . . . 

Bioprinted Dura Mater Developed for Use in Brain Surgery

After opening the skull in brain surgery, a surgeon must cut through a protective layer, the dura mater, to access the brain. After surgery, that layer must be replaced or the patient will be in serious danger.

“With a thickness of only 0.2 millimeters, the dura mater may appear to the eye to be no more than a wet paper towel but it has proved extremely difficult to replace,” states an article from 3dprint.com. The article goes on to explain how a team of Chinese scientists developed the 3D printed replacement membrane. It also describes the fabricating process and shows how the material should be sutured onto a patient’s head. Read the article . .


Motor Cortex Brain Surgery

Neurosurgeon Farhad M. Limonadi, MD, of Palm Springs Complex Brain & Spine Surgery, and Chairman of the brain tumor program at Eisenhower Neuroscience Institute, performs surgery to remove a metastatic brain tumor that has invaded a critical part of a patient’s brain, the motor cortex, which is responsible for motor movement of the body. See video . . .  

Brain Aneurysm Repair Surgery

Watch a webcast of a minimally invasive brain aneurysm repair from Baptist Health Neuroscience Center in Miami, Florida. Medical Director of Interventional Neuroradiology Italo Linfante, MD, performed the procedure. See video . . .


Perioperative Puzzle: Brain Surgery

RNFA+Crossword Spinal Fusion
Test your knowledge of brain surgery with this month’s crossword puzzle.

When you’re ready to check your answers follow this link to see how well you did. Good luck!

Brain Surgery APPS

Brain and Nervous Anatomy Atlas.  Brain and Nervous Anatomy Atlas is a quick visual reference on nervous system anatomy, physiology, and common pathologies. This iPhone/iPad app includes hundreds of 3D models, animations, and illustrations, and 100 quiz questions that review nervous structures.

 3D brain. Use your touch screen to rotate and zoom around 29 interactive structures. Discover how each brain region functions, what happens when it is injured, and how it is involved in mental illness. Each detailed structure comes with information on functions, disorders, brain damage, case studies, and links to modern research.
Edheads, a site that offers interactive online science and math adventures for kids, offers a module Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery, sponsored by Ohio State Medical Center. It is an animated film in which a doctor cuts, probes and drills her way to helping her patient cope with a movement disorder through brain surgery.

In the Spotlight
08.+Jackie+Ward+cropped with boarderName:  Jacqueline (Jackie) Ward

Credentials:   APRN

Student Status: Current NIFA RNFA student 

City and State:Mesa, AZ

Current Job:  Trauma Nurse Practitioner

Where did you get your RN degree?
Georgia Perimeter College and Brenau University, BSN

Why did you choose perioperative nursing?
As an Advanced Practitioner with trauma surgeons, they require that all mid-level practitioners are able to first assist.

What is the scariest moment you’ve ever seen at the table?

The microscope stopped working during a spine case and we weren’t able to get it to work and there was no replacement scope.  We worked with the broken scope and the “field” kept floating out of sight so the gracious physician I worked with kept putting it back so we could finish! The patient did great!

What is one technique or RNFA trick you’ve learned from NIFA that you will use for life?
Definitely one-hand tying!

How do you feel having your RNFA will impact your life/career?
It will definitely increase my earning potential and make me more marketable.

NIFA Office Hours
Monday-Thursday 7:30am – 5:00pm (Fridays 7:30am – 4:00pm).