A neurosurgeon in Iraq: a personal perspective

J Clin Neurosci. 2006 Dec;13(10):986-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2005.11.013. Epub 2006 Oct 23.


The practice of neurosurgery in a war zone provides enormous challenges and risks for the individual surgeon working in such an austere and hostile environment, but also provides a unique opportunity to treat a high volume of severe penetrating and blast injuries to the head, neck and the spine. The purpose of this article is to present the author's personal experiences and perspective as a military neurosurgeon working in the US Airforce Hospital in Balad (the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group) Iraq in for 3 months in 2004. Strategies for managing the mass casualties, and the severe penetrating craniofacial trauma are presented and the reasons for the low mortality of troops injured in Iraq are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Craniocerebral Trauma / pathology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / physiopathology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / surgery
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods
  • Emergency Medical Services / standards
  • Emergency Medical Services / trends
  • Hospitals, Military / standards
  • Hospitals, Military / trends
  • Humans
  • Iraq
  • Military Medicine / methods
  • Military Medicine / standards
  • Military Medicine / trends*
  • Neurosurgery / methods
  • Neurosurgery / standards
  • Neurosurgery / trends*
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Warfare*
  • Wounds and Injuries / pathology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / physiopathology
  • Wounds and Injuries / surgery*