KCU Student Doctor Kellee Neal Explains Why the Research Symposium is Important to Her and Fellow Students

By Kellee Neal, MS Apr 12, 2017
KCU Research Symposium Winner

The research symposium is an important event at KCU. Being able to participate in research can enhance student’s applications for residency and help us acquire integral knowledge of research methods.

My research projects involved searching for new landmarks and measurements to aid in skull base surgery and reduce surgical complications. In particular, I concentrated on the sub-temporal trans-zygomatic approach to the middle cranial fossa. Neurosurgeons and Otolaryngologists (ENTs) enter the skull base to address conditions such as intracranial tumors, pituitary tumors, and vascular malformations.

Recently, there has been a transition into using less invasive techniques when entering the skull.

Great idea!

But there are shortcomings to this transition, including a reduced operative view for surgeons. Less visualization during surgery increases the likelihood of intraoperative complications and the areas I worked in (middle cranial fossa and cavernous sinus) have multiple very critical structures (cranial nerves and major cranial vasculature) that can be easily damaged during surgery. 

I was able to establish predictable landmarks and collect multiple measurements and images to assist surgeons and surgeons-in-training in locating these critical structures to avoid injuring them during surgery. I hope to add my findings to the anatomical collection of skull base anatomy so that they can be used to decrease morbidity and complications during this procedure.

I am hopeful that KCU will continue to support students in their research endeavors and encourage student-driven projects. I am  grateful for the chance to present at this year’s symposium and appreciative of the honor of winning first place for my poster presentation.

I am happy that my passion for research and my enthusiasm to add to the understanding of clinical anatomy was recognized during my presentation. I hope to continue to pursue my research interests and present at future symposiums.

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