The Neuroscience Laboratory is gaining even more solid grounds, focusing on two key topics: neuro-oncology and central nervous system (CNS) vascular neurosurgery. This research laboratory, closely linked to the Department of Neurosurgery, is unique in Lithuania. It further solidifies the significance of our Department as the centre of neurosurgery in Lithuania. This combination aligns with the organisational structure of the world’s leading university clinical departments, where practising neurosurgeons work alongside fundamental scientists in research and teaching. This facilitates collaboration with laboratories and universities abroad. Our laboratory has already started genetic testing of CNS tumours to determine the sensitivity of tumours to chemotherapy, and is compiling a database of patients and a CNS tumour bank for further studies.
In the last decade, neurosurgeons have defended 16 doctoral theses and one habilitation thesis. Most of them have been well evaluated by neurosurgeons from clinical departments of foreign universities such as Harvard, West Berlin, Nagoya and others.
In 2003, we were awarded the annual prize of the Journal Seminars in Neurology for a series of articles in neuro-oncology.
In the last five years, our neurosurgeons’ work has been published in the world’s most prestigious neurosurgery journals. This is yet another recognition of the achievements of our Department.
Neurosurgeons from our Department are invited to give lectures at universities in the U.S., Japan, Australia, and Latvia. Doctors working at the Department of Neurosurgery are not only members of world or European neurosurgical associations, but are also participate in the activities of the American Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the International Society of Pituitary Surgeons, the Board of the European Skull Base Society and other international societies. Our neurosurgeon has become the only representative of the neurosurgeons of the Baltic States to be involved in the evaluation of EU medical projects and to receive the invitation to become a reviewer of a foreign scientific journal. This could doubtlessly be considered a recognition of our neurosurgery.
The past decade has been an interesting period. We had to revise former standards and transition to the Western ones, as Lithuania itself chose this path. This implies not only continuous modernisation of diagnostic or surgical methods (which is one of the prerequisites for progress), but also the improvement of knowledge, science, and work organisation principles. Improvement and development are continuous processes and it is only us who decide where to draw the limits.
Our Department gives lectures and conducts practical work for the 5th year students of the Faculty of Medicine. The Department has 3 CPD courses for doctors with a duration of 36 hours.
DEPARTMENT OF NEUROSURGERY – ACCREDITED IN EUROPE
From now on, residents at the LSMU Department of Neurosurgery will receive training according to the same standards as those in all European Union countries.
The UEMS (Union Europeenne des Medecins Specialistes) is an organisation of medical specialists from European Union countries and associated member organisations. The Lithuanian Medical Association is also a member of the UEMS. The union includes sections for all specialties. In terms of neurosurgery, the UEMS accreditation panel (i.e. a joint panel including representatives of the EANS (European Association of Neurosurgeons, which also includes the Lithuanian Society of Neurosurgeons) and the UEMS) performs assessment of neurosurgery departments that provide training to neurosurgery residents to ensure that they comply with the European standards. Not only the residency programmes, but also the qualifications of the teaching staff, the number and complexity of surgeries, the provision of equipment, etc. are inspected.
According to Prof. Arimantas Tamašauskas, Head of the Department of Neurosurgery, accreditation is a lengthy process taking many years, with its primary aim being to ensure that neurosurgery residents across Europe are trained according to the same standards, i.e. their qualifications meet the requirements that are unified across Europe.
The professor notes that the Clinic of Neurosurgery at LSMU had been preparing for the accreditation procedure for almost a year and a half. During the preparation, they had to fill out piles of documents and complete various tasks outlined in the requirements, including establishing a library for residents’ training, setting up a research laboratory, procuring equipment for complex surgeries, and undertaking many other things. Two experts from the UEMS organisation, Prof. T. Trojanowski (Poland) and Dr. Guy Matge (Luxembourg), were appointed to visit the Department of Neurosurgery during several days, verifying a wide range of surgical procedures. The visited the library, attended the resident programmes, the surgeries and the doctors’ meetings, and finally held the resident examinations. Following this expert visit, the LSMU Department of Neurosurgery received an official certificate confirming its compliance with all European standards.
According to Prof. Tamašauskas, the primary advantage of this accreditation is that residents won’t need to travel to Brussels, incur significant expenses attending courses, or undergo additional exams to work in any European country. The accreditation of the Department of Neurosurgery means that the residents can invite an expert to Lithuania and take the same exam in their home country. The resulting certificate would be the same as the one received abroad.
Although the accreditation is complete, i.e. no major findings to be corrected were detected at the LSMU Department of Neurosurgery, the experts shared several valuable recommendations for the future. One of the recommendations was to extend the training programme for neurosurgery residents by one year as the neurosurgery residents in Lithuania are trained for five years, while in the rest of Europe they are trained for six years. The accreditation is granted for four years, subject to reapproval procedure upon its expiry.
The LSMU Department of Neurosurgery is the only clinical department in Lithuania that has received the official European recognition.