Having 35 years of experience in the field of Neurosurgery, Prof. Nejat Akalan describes the level of neurosurgery in Turkey as compatible with the most experienced and developed countries of the world. He underlines in his center there is almost no disease that cannot be treated due to lack of knowledge or lack of technology.
He places particular interest in sub-specialization within Neurosurgery and in his team, he has established a sub-specialty-based concentration among his team members. There are physicians that concentrate on epilepsy for example, which is a very specific surgery that requires a certain type of knowledge, and physicians who deal with oncological tumors that require a totally different type of know-how. Radiosurgery, pediatric neurosurgery, oncology, vascular diseases, functional neurosurgery, spine surgery, etc. all require special attention.
“In a lifetime of a neurosurgeon, it’s impossible to give all your attention at the same time to all these subgroups”.
While Prof. Akalan is more focused on Pediatric Neurosurgery and Epilepsy Surgery, there is always a medical discussion among colleagues about cases, that concludes with the most experienced physician in that particular field of treatment taking the responsibility of the patient.
Dr. Nejat says 40 years of experience brings many different cases to learn from. Performing a specific type of treatment many times sure has some benefits, but more important is to learn the basic skills properly, being able to perform it in a good manner and to adapt yourself to the progress in surgery.
“You should be knowing what you are doing. In that way, whether you do 10 times a case or 100 times a case doesn’t make any difference”
Academic titles and surgical skills are different and Prof. Nejat Akalan considers them to be complementary to each other. A practical example is how a surgeon is assessed in a clinic that is both with academic capacity and surgical skills.
Prof. Akalan states that standards of Turkish Medicine is above the level of other infrastructural systems of the country, probably because of handpicked physicians who are sent to developed countries in 40s to 50s to be trained properly. These physicians established medical departments and more importantly the culture that let medicine improve day by day. Another chance of Turkey according to Professor is having a crowded population which is around 80 million, which provides an enormous variety of different cases for surgeons to acquire more and more experience when compared to smaller countries.
From a patient’s point of view, Dr. Nejat thinks that there is more than enough data to make a comparison among alternatives for an international patient while picking up a doctor or a facility. He recommends all patients do internet research to evaluate the experience of the physician, the facility in terms of possessing adequate technology, instruments, and technical know-how.