In the operating room with Dr. Enrique Davalos Ruiz, Neurosurgeon


Dr. Enrique Davalos Ruiz, Neurosurgeon

Spent the morning in the operating room with Dr. Davalos.  As we discussed in a previous post, Dr. Davalos is one of just a few neurosurgeons here in Mexico to specialize in both adult and pediatric neurosurgery procedures.  He performs a wide range of procedures such surgery for cerebral tumors, spinal bifida, hydrocephalus, trauma, spinal surgery and epilepsy.  But one of the procedures he is best-known for here in Mexicali is the surgical repair of craniosynostosis.  However, if you’ve ever watched this intricate procedure – ‘repair’ really isn’t the word that comes to mind to describe the procedure.  ‘Rebuild’ is much more appropriate.

Craniosynostosis is a congenital cranial deformity caused by the premature fusion of the cranial sutures.  (These sutures allow for the babies head to be slightly compressed during natural childbirth).  Many new moms can attest that their neonate’s head was temporarily ‘squashed’ looking at birth, but normalize over the first few days as the bones relax into their natural position.  In normal development, these sutures (or ridges where the bones come together) are not yet fused  – and fuse over the first few months of life.

When the bones that comprise the skull fuse early, it can result in a significant cranial abnormality.  (Luckily, in most cases of [primary] craniosynostosis – the patient’s brain functions normally despite this.)

To treat this surgically, Dr. Davalos had to essentially rebuild part of the skull (the coronal sections of the parietal and frontal bones).   He did this by removing and reshaping the skull in separate sections and then rejoining the pieces to conform to a more natural shape.  (As a someone who sews, it reminded me of lacing a corset to get curved shaping).   In a child of this age – the bones should fuse/ heal within approximately six weeks – with no long term limitations for activities.

Sterility was maintained during the case, and everything proceeded in a rapid and appropriate fashion.  Anesthesia was proficient during the case, with excellent hemodynamic stability and oxygenation.

Dr. Davalos beveling a portion of the skull

Dr. Enrique Davalos Ruiz, MD

Pediatric and Adult Neurosurgery specialist

Calle B No 248

entre Av. Reforma and Obregon

Zona Centro

Mexicali, B. C.

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A day of Passion!


Had a long, but exciting day, with some interesting doctors – who are strikingly passionate about their work, which is always wonderful to see.

This morning, I traveled out to Chia, to the University of Sabana to visit with Dr. Camilo Osorio Barker, MD who is the Dean of Medicine, (and a practicing thoracic surgeon.)  Like many thoracic surgeons here in Colombia, Dr. Osorio practices at several locations, (primarily out in Chia at the University-affiliated hospital) but he also sees patients at Cardioinfantil. (He is partnered with Dr. Tellez and Dr. Garzon, both of whom we’ve interviewed previously)

One three- day weekend a month, he sees patients in Medellin.  He primarily specializes in the treatment of hyperhidrosis (excess sweating of palms, facial flushing) by thorascopic sympathectomy.  He report that this makes up about 90% of his practice – with the remainder of cases as VATS lung resections, and other lung procedures.    There’s a lot more to tell – but it’s been a long day, and I have an early appointment tomorrow with Dr. Ramon (neurosurgery) at Hospital Centro de Policia..

Don’t worry – I will be seeing Dr. Osorio again soon.

Next stop was Dr. Fernando Hakim, a neurosurgeon at Santa Fe de Bogota.  He was a fantastic interview – while he does the whole spectrum of neurosurgical procedures for vascular malformations, tumors, spinal problems, etc, he is best known for his treatment of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH).

(As I mentioned in a previous post) It seems almost inevitable, or inescapable that the son of the famed Dr. Salomon Hakim (who developed the first treatment for normal pressure hydrocephalus) – has carried on his father’s legacy. But Dr. Fernando Hakim is passionate about neurosurgery, and has certainly made his mark..

He clearly loves his work – I could have interviewed him for hours, and hours (but he’s a busy neurosurgeon, so I didn’t).  I will be seeing him again soon – (next week) and I’ll bring more information then.

Lastly, I stopped in to see Dr. Jose Felix Castro, general surgeon for a quick visit to get some last minute information for another project I am working on..