The second and third Microsurgery training workshops were completed in the week of 13th–18th April 2015 in the Microsurgery Training Laboratory in the Neurosurgical Department of the Mother Theresa University Hospital in Tirana, Albania. The teaching was by Dr Ridvan from the Neurosurgery Department, Dr Sokol Isaraj from the Plastic Surgery Department and myself, Mr Jack McCann from Galway. We had 3 Microscope Stations and we trained 6 Maxillofacial Surgeons, 3 Plastic Surgeons and 2 Neurosurgeons from Kosovo and also 2 Neurosurgeons from Macedonia. This group of 13 combined with the 12 from 2014 brought our total so far to 22 (as 3 had already attended a partial course.) They were very enthusiastic and showed good microsurgical skills.
The courses entailed end to end anastomosis of arteries and veins, end to side anastomosis, vein grafts, nerve repair and nerve grafting. These were basic courses and it is necessary that each participant practice as much as possible in order to maintain their skills before they embark on real cases. They will be able to attend refresher courses in time. There is already a large waiting list for the workshop training. Our intention is to provide more microscopes and instruments to facilitate the training of more surgeons in each Microsurgery course, who will then bring the skills to their own units to the benefit of their patients.
These courses are currently being provided free of charge and are being sponsored by Irish Friends of Albania and the Neurosurgery Department of Mother Theresa Hospital. The normal cost of such a course in the UK is approximately £1500 sterling per person, plus flights and accommodation.
We intend to continue the training courses with Professor Mentor Petrela (of the Neurosurgery Department) and the Dean of the Medical School, who are in the process of putting Microsurgical training on the Curriculum for all surgical trainees.
Jack McCann, F.R.C.S.I., B.Sc.,
Consultant Plastic Surgeon (retired)
Chairman, Irish Friends of Albania