Let us get some insights into Dr. Akbar Ali Khan's journey, experiences, and success with Parul Soni and Priya Bairagi from MedBound Times.
Dr. Akbar Ali Khan is one of the First surgeon to bring Minimally invasive Neurosurgery to Pakistan. He performs surgeries in three to four different hospitals across Pakistan every month.
His most recent research includes:
Malignant Meningioma: An International Multicentre Retrospective Study.
Akbar Ali Khan, Lewis Thorne, Charles Champeaux, Journal of Neurosurgery, Dec 2018.
Disproportionately Large Communicating Fourth Ventricle: Pearls for Diagnosis and Management
Khan AA, Aswin Chari, Dimitrios Karponis, Claudia Craven, Lewis Thorne Cureus Nov 2018.
Parul Soni: Welcome Sir! Please tell us something about your professional life.
Dr. Akbar Ali Khan: Hello all! I did MBBS from Khyber Medical College, University of Peshawar, Pakistan and MD from the USA. I did FRCS from Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, UK in March 2008. I did FRCS Neurosurgery, UK in March 2013.
I cleared Intercollegiate Specialty Board in Neurosurgery, UK in March 2013. I have a Specialist Registration in Neurosurgery, UK in 2016. I practice in Integrated Medical Care Hospital, Lahore and Altamash General Hospital Karachi, Pakistan. I often visit hospitals across Pakistan according to the inflow of cases
Parul Soni: How do you keep cool in complicated cases?
Dr. Akbar Ali Khan: If you are not positive that patients and their families are not going to be good, you can't perform well. So it's all a matter of good vibes.
Parul Soni: How many cases of pediatric neurosurgery do you get? What are the common cases and challenges you face as a neurosurgeon?
Dr. Akbar Ali Khan: The most common condition I get to see is Hydrocephalus. So I tend to do endoscopic surgeries on those patients. If they are less than six months old then you can't do endoscopic surgery. We put a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt.
Pakistan is a developing country and cases like myelomeningocele, meningocele or encephalocele are common. Then there is a full cohort of brain tumors, these are fairly challenging cases. When I am doing pediatric neurosurgery, I am really cautious. All neurosurgeries are difficult but with pediatric neurosurgery, the important thing is blood volume. You're dealing with a very small child and there is going to be a small blood volume. So you have to be careful when you cut the skin not to lose even a drop of blood. Because they can easily lose a lot of blood volume.
Parul Soni: What was your experience in the United Kingdom during Fellowship?
Dr. Akbar Ali Khan: Yes, I spent a long time there. I just did medical school here in Peshawar. Then I went to Edinburgh, so I started the ground of all training there, including fellowships. I was a Senior Resident for a long time and then I became a consultant.
My experience is that the doctors at Edinburgh, train you like their own, if you're good enough. They liked me and trained me. Yes, that's what they did and I am grateful to them.
When I was going for a consultant job. There were 40 people for interviews for one consultant post. I got that job. I feel if you work hard and if they see talent in you, they (doctors) will support you immensely.
Parul Soni: What preparation did you need to undergo for a complicated surgery? How do you deal with it mentally?
Dr. Akbar Ali Khan: Everything is complex in neurosurgery but there are some cases that are very complex. I do a lot of skull base surgery and pediatric tumors, they can be quite challenging. If I'm doing very major surgery. I know I'm stressed, I just go and sit myself down for 5 minutes to calm down. I just focus, refocus and take a few deep breaths. It's very important to just give it a thought before you go into surgery.
If you are going for every surgery and you're not scared. That means you are not doing your job properly. I think we need to have some sense of feeling, some that anything can go wrong and you need to be prepared for that. And if you think that the patient is just like your family and your focus is very different. I do all types of surgeries. I'm always scared and I'm always stressed.
If you think that every patient is your family, you will perform better.
Dr. Akbar Ali Khan, MBBS, MD(USA), FRCS Ed, FRCS Neurosurgery
Parul Soni: Please describe some surgery-related achievements.
Dr. Akbar Ali Khan: Neurosurgery is straightforward, you get the results straight away of what you did. So most surgeries are quite gratifying. But in lumbar disc surgery, which is a very common surgery I do. The patient wakes up pain-free and goes home the same day. I introduced a daycare service where I do surgery in the morning and they go home the same day.
The most gratifying surgery that I find and it is also one of the most challenging surgeries. That is the surgery for epilepsy. It is a delicate surgery and it's not that common to do. But when you do it and the patient is seizure free, that is an amazing feeling.
Stay tuned for the second part of this interview!