News for members of the Western Neurosurgical Society

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Summer 2017


VARIAN is the sponsor of the WNS newsletter

2017 Annual Meeting

Dear WNS Members, Applicants, and guests:
Please join us for this year’s Western Neurosurgical Society annual meeting in the beautiful Canadian Rockies. We have an outstanding scientific program curated by Dr. Andrew Little and the entire program committee. In addition to the scientific program we have an exciting array of activities in the Banff National Park which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Evening activities include local night at an authentic Western TeePee for a hearty Barbeque and Wild West gunfight show. Afternoon activities can include a guided bike tour or horseback tour, golf in the beautiful setting of the park, tennis, or even bowling, ping pong and billiards. 
The meeting will include three mornings of scientific paper presentation (Saturday, Sunday, Monday). This year’s Cloward award recipient Is Dr Volker Sonntag. Our Ablin lecture is being given by Dr Lucy Kalanithi, the wife of Dr Paul Kalanithi, Neurosurgeon and author of the New York Times best selling "When Breath Becomes Air". This meeting is jointly provided by the AANS for CME purposes.

The Fairmont Banff Springs is our venue this year. It was built in the late 1800's and styled after a Scottish Baronial Castle. The views are unparalleled and it is only a short hour and a half drive from the Calgary airport.
On behalf of Dr. Nussbaum, Dr. Little, the entire executive committee, and myself we look forward to seeing friends, family, and colleagues at this year’s meeting. 
Marc Vanefsky MD

The 2017 Western Neurosurgical Society Meeting
Banff, Alberta, Canada
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
September 8-11, 2017
About the hotel:  For our 63rd meeting, the Western travels north to Banff, Alberta, Canada.  The 2017 Annual Meeting will be held at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel which we last visited in 1987.  The hotel is a short stroll from the charming town of Banff which has a selection of local galleries and museums, upscale shopping and restaurants, year-round Banff Lake Louise events, and popular local attractions including the Banff Gondola and the mineral rich Banff Upper Hot Springs (

The Fairmont Banff Springs ( has all the amenities of a world class resort, including stunning vistas, championship golf courses, classic cuisine and Willow Stream, a world class European-style spa (10% off for our group) plus a bowling alley. The daily room rate for meeting attendees is $269.00 CAD ($204 USD) which gets you a fairly small but adequate Fairmont room.  To the daily rate will be added a $12 CAD daily service fee (to cover baggage handling on arrival/departure and tip for your room maid) and $25.59 CAD a day in taxes.  Complimentary Wi-Fi in each room. 

The link to the WNS on line room registration is
If our reserved room block gets filled, there are many nice places to stay in Banff which is a short walk from the Fairmont.

There is a Hertz Rental office located in the hotel and cars can be arranged directly or through the concierge service.  Multiple shuttle options are available including the Banff Airporter ( - $120 CAD roundtrip) and The Brewster Shuttle ( - $130 RT, fancier bus)).  It will cost you $15/day to self park your car at the hotel.
Members and candidates for membership have received the meeting registration form but if one is desired, it can be found on the Western's Web site ( in the Forms menu item.
Hotel contact information is below if you have questions.
405 Spray Avenue 
Alberta, Canada 

TEL + 1 403 762 2211 
FAX + 403 762 5755 

Medtronic, the sole Platinum Level exhibitor at our 2016 meeting in Carlsbad, deserves the Western's thanks for making the meeting a success.

We hope our members will support the companies that support the Western.

Spring Executive Committee meeting
The Society’s Executive Committee met for its By-laws required spring meeting in Los Angles on April 23rd, 2017.
Membership is stable at about 200 members inclusive of all categories the largest of which is active members.
The Society experienced a net profit of 32.6K for 2016 inclusive of all dues income, annual meeting income, investment income, operating expenses and annual meeting expenses.
The committee accepted the report of the Program Committee chairman Andrew Little which included the outline of the scientific program to include the usual three morning sessions.  He was authorized to offer complimentary meeting registration, hotel accommodations for three nights and airfare for himself/herself to the runners-up in the resident abstract awards two categories (the winners get free ride for self and SO/spouse).  Abstract submission was robust and will ensure an excellent program.
The Banff meeting opening reception and banquet will be held indoors with bussing to the Local night which will be a BBQ at a venue composed of a huge solid roof/wall tent.  Afternoon activities are still being arranged.  Registration fee will remain $1100 for a neurosurgeon and spouse/SO/guest which covers three breakfasts, three dinners and the scientific program.
Linda Liau, chair of the Nominating Committee, announced the slate for officers for election in Banff with Tom Scully nominated as President-Elect, John McVicker as Vice President and Moustapha Abou-Samra as Historian.
The committee voted to have Dr. Marco Lee commence a major revision of the Web site to include adding functions that will better support the operation of the Society.
The Membership Committee presented a list of candidates whose applications were complete and they were approved by the EC.  If they attend the meeting, the following candidates will be presented at the annual business meeting for vote to bestow active member status:
Tarun Arora (UCSF)
Hasimran Brara (LA)
Aria Fallah (UCLA)
Jean-Philippe Langevin (UCLA)
Claudia Martin (Portland)
Nader Pouratian (UCLA)
Shayan Rahman (LA)
John Ratliff (Stanford)
Mark Sedrak (Redwood City)
Christine Smith (UCSD)
Phil Taussky (Utah)
Five additional candidates were approved for a vote in Banff to bestow provisional member status (application complete but need to pass ABNS boards):
Sharona Ben-Haim (UCSD)
Garni Barkhoudarian (Santa Monica)
Justin Dye (USN, San Diego)
Casey Halpern (Stanford)
Luke Macysyn (UCLA)
Finally, the committee chose the 5 Diamond Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego for the annual meeting in 2020.  This venue, ranked #1 USA luxury hotel by Trip Advisor, sports a 5 Star spa and a 5 Diamond restaurant.

2017 Annual Meeting Registration Form  on Website

Western Neurosurgical Society members and candidates for membership have received the 2017 meeting registration form.

Guest neurosurgeons and others in the neuroscience community including physician assistants and nurse practitioners who wish to attend the meeting can find the meeting registration form on our Website ( in the Forms menu item on the Home page.

The WNS By-laws Committee has submitted the following change to our by-laws.  The Executive Committee recommends approval.  The proposed change will be voted upon at the annual business meeting at Banff in September.
Add the following as a second paragraph to Section G; Article IX. (Duties of the Nominating Committee)
Every third year, when the Secretary/Treasurer commences his/her third year in office, the Nominating Committee shall, in consultation with the Executive Committee, recommend an active member of the Society to be the Secretary/Treasurer-elect.  This nomination will be put forth in similar fashion to the committee's other nominations.  It will be voted on in a like manner at the annual meeting.  The Secretary-Treasurer-elect will be expected to attend meetings of the Executive Committee, without vote, and not considered an Officer of the Society.  He/she will automatically assume the position of Secretary/Treasurer upon the conclusion of the term of the current Secretary/Treasurer.
Officer Nominees for vote at annual meeting
The two gentlemen below have been nominated for officer positions for 2018 and will be voted on during the annual business meeting.
Tom Scully MD for President-Elect

Tom grew up in Gary, Indiana, and graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1983.  There he not only excelled academically, but lettered in golf, a passion that continues today.  He went on to Indiana University and completed both his medical degree in 1988 (AOA) and neurosurgical residency 1994.  He moved to Tucson, Arizona where he is today in private practice in the neuroscience group he co-founded, Northwest NeuroSpecialists.

Tom is currently chairman of the Bylaws Committee and has previously served as Vice-President in 2015, chair of the Membership Committee, and member of the Scientific Program Committee.  In addition to his service to the WNS, he currently serves as the President of the Arizona State Neurosurgical Society.  He has completed a term on the AANS Public Relations Committee from 2009-2013 where he spent much of his time with organized neurosurgery’s efforts around sports-related concussions. He has previously served as an Alternate Delegate to the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies and continues as Instructor for the AANS Julius Goodman Oral Board Review Course.

Tom’s passion for teaching and sports only come in second to his passion for his family.  Tom married Dawn Dyer Scully, RN, CNRN, and has two children, Thomas Andrew (junior at TCU in pre-med) and Caroline McKenzie (matriculating this fall at TCU school of nursing).  In addition to following his children’s lives at the baseball field, volleyball court, swimming pool, and stage, Tom volunteers his time at Embellish Home, Dawn’s specialty store for home décor, unique gifts, and jewelry.

Even with all the above, Tom still finds time to intensely follow Indiana University basketball and Notre Dame football, a task fraught with some disappointment these past few years.  We feel Tom will prevail even if the Hoosiers and Irish don’t.
John McVicker MD for Vice-President

John is a long term Coloradan from the Denver area where his family settled.  He got his BA in molecular biology at the University of Colorado in Boulder and his MD at UC in Denver. Then off to the University of Florida for his neurosurgical training which he completed in 1987.  He returned home and entered private practice, becoming interested in trauma and the organization of delivery of trauma care initially in the Denver area. In 2009 he had the opportunity to be head of neurosurgery at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs and then in 2012 became director of neurosciences at Memorial/University of Colorado Health as well in Colorado Springs.
Dr. McVicker has served the Western in the past as Local Arrangements chairman and as Membership Committee chairman.  He has served on trauma related committees of the AANS and the American College of Surgeons.  He has also been the President of the Colorado Neurosurgical Society and the Rocky Mountain Neurosurgical Society and a Quadrant chairman at the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies.


John says his passions are his family, which includes wife Debra (6th grade sweetheart; married in college) and his grown children Dan and Sarah and granddaughter Adelaide June, as well as cooking, biking, flying his airplane (a Corvalis 400) plus the challenges of managing the neurosurgery part of the trauma service at Memorial as it goes for Level I rating as well as becoming a Comprehensive Stroke Center.


John and Debra have been consistent attendees at the Western where he is known for his formal banquet attire which is a full Scottish kilt complete with a knife in a leg scabbard.

WNS Members In Print

AANS Neurosurgeon-Volume 26, Number 1, 2017
Michael T. Lawton, MD  Point: In Defense of Overlapping Surgery at Academic Medical Centers 

JNS-March 2017
Michael T. Lawton, MD  Medicare expenditures for elderly patients undergoing surgical clipping or endovascular intervention for subarachnoid hemorrhage
Michael T. Lawton, MD   Comparison of clipping and coiling in elderly patients with unruptured cerebral aneurysms
JNS-April 2017
Rocco A. Armonda, MD  Early venous thromboembolism chemoprophylaxis in combat-related penetrating brain injury
David Newell, MD and Marc Mayberg, MD  Dynamic susceptibility contrast and dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI characteristics to distinguish microcystic meningiomas from traditional Grade I meningiomas and high-grade gliomas
JNS-Peds March 2017
Gerald A. Grant, MD  Perioperative outcomes for pediatric neurosurgical procedures: analysis of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program–Pediatrics
Neurosurgery Supplement March 2017
Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD  Recent and Emerging Advances in Spinal Deformity
Neurosurgery Supplement April 2017
James R. Bean, MD  Neurosurgical Practice in Transition: A Review
James Bean, MD and Mitchel S. Berger, MD   A Review and Survey of Neurosurgeon–Hospital Relationships: Evolution and Options
Mitchel S. Berger, MD and Michael McDermott, MD  Neurosurgical Education in a Changing Healthcare and Regulatory Environment: A Consensus Statement from 6 Programs
Neurosurgery March 2017
Michael W. McDermott, MD  Surgical Resection and Interstitial Iodine-125 Brachytherapy for High-Grade Meningiomas: A 25-Year Series
Michael W. McDermott, MD  Ventriculoperitoneal Shunting for Glioblastoma: Risk Factors, Indications, and Efficacy
Praveen V. Mummaneni, MD, Chris I. Shaffrey, MD  Does MIS Surgery Allow for Shorter Constructs in the Surgical Treatment of Adult Spinal Deformity?
Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD, Praveen V. Mummaneni, MD  Commentary: Appropriate Use Criteria for Lumbar Degenerative Scoliosis: Developing Evidence-based Guidance for Complex Treatment Decisions
Neurosurgery April 2017
Bob Carter, MD, PhD  Defining Glioblastoma Resectability Through the Wisdom of the Crowd: A Proof-of-Principle Study

Neurosurgery June 2017
Praveen V. Mummaneni, MD  Morbidity and Mortality Associated with Surgery of Traumatic C2 Fractures in Octogenarians  
Michael T. Lawton, MD  The Superior Cerebellar Artery Aneurysm: A Posterior Circulation Aneurysm with Favorable Microsurgical Outcomes

Operative Neurosurgery February 2017
Nathan R. Selden, MD, PhD  Assessment of the Interrater Reliability of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons Microanastomosis Assessment Scale
Michael T. Lawton, MD  V3 Vertebral Artery to Anterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery Bypass With Saphenous Vein Graft for Vertebrobasilar Ischemia: 3-Dimensional Operative Video
Operative Neurosurgery April 2017
Michael T. Lawton, MD  Surgical Technique for High-Flow Internal Maxillary Artery to Middle Cerebral Artery Bypass Using a Superficial Temporal Artery Interposition Graft
Michael T. Lawton, MD  Internal Maxillary Artery to M2 Middle Cerebral Artery Bypass With Modified Superficial Temporal Artery Graft: 3-Dimensional Operative Video
Michael T. Lawton, MD  Microsurgical Anatomy and the Effects of Gravity Retraction With the Supracerebellar-Infratentorial Approach: Two Companion Cases: 3-Dimensional Operative Video

Operative Neurosurgery June 2017
Bob S. Carter, MD, PhD  Real-time Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Guided Biopsy Using SmartFrame® Stereotaxis in the Setting of a Conventional Diagnostic Magnetic Resonance Imaging Suite
Michael T. Lawton, MD  Sequential Extradural Release of the V3 Vertebral Artery to Facilitate Intradural V4 Vertebral Artery Reanastomosis: Feasibility of a Novel Revascularization Technique
Michael T. Lawton, MD  Exposure of the External Carotid Artery Through the Posterior Triangle of the Neck: A Novel Approach to Facilitate Bypass Procedures to the Posterior Cerebral Circulation
Michael T. Lawton, MD  Transcallosal-transchoroidal Fissure Approach for Resection of Third Ventricle Cavernous Malformation: 3-Dimensional Operative Video
Michael T. Lawton, MD  Management of a Ruptured Posterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery (PICA) Aneurysm With PICA–PICA In Situ Bypass and Trapping: 3-Dimensional Operative Video
Copyright © 2017 Western Neurosurgical Society, All rights reserved.

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Western Neurosurgical Society · 1678 Cloverdale Road, Escondido, CA · Escondido, CA 92027 · USA

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