• 2014 Honored Guest: Edward C. Benzel

    Author: James S. Harrop, MD, FACS

    The 2014 CNS Annual Meeting Honored Guest is Edward C. Benzel, MD. He is known internationally in neurosurgery as a leader, educator, mentor and innovator. Presently, he serves as the Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Cleveland Clinic and holds a faculty appointment, Professor of Surgery, at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. 

    In 1971, Dr. Benzel graduated from Washington State University with a degree in chemical engineering and then proceeded to the Medical College of Wisconsin, where he obtained a Medical Degree. At the Medical College of Wisconsin, he distinguished himself amongst his colleagues when he was presented the Millman Award, which best exemplified the characteristics of an ideal physician. He continued his education at the Medical College of Wisconsin with an internship and subsequent residency in neurological surgery under the guidance of Sanford Larsen, MD. Dr. Benzel then became a fellow in spine surgery and spinal cord injury at the VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    His major clinical interests embrace numerous aspects of neurosurgery care. Specific focuses are on spinal disorders including cervical spondylosis, syringomyelia, complex spine instrumentation and spine tumors. Clinical research encompasses issues as hydrocephalus, cerebrovascular disorders, cranial trauma, critical care, brain death, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and of course, spinal disorders. From a research perspective, he is presently concentrating further on spine biomechanics and related clinical research, as well as how biomechanics impacts sports-related concussion. The latter has centered on strategies to reduce risk and increase protection for athletes involved in contact sports.

    Dr. Benzel has been actively involved in academic neurosurgery being a leader in the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) and American Association of Neurological Surgery (AANS). Further, he has developed collaboration and relationships with numerous other physician groups through additional organized societies. These include the North American Spine Society (NASS), World Spinal Column Society and Cervical Spine Research Society (CSRS). Dr. Benzel is one of the founding members of the Lumbar Spine Research Society, formed in 2007.

    His continual rigorous review of clinical and research content for several professional neurosurgical and spine publications contributes significantly to the body of literature. He was Co-Chairman of the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Neurosurgery from 2003 to 2004, and is currently Chairman of the Review Board for the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. He has served as a reviewer for Neurosurgery®, Spine and The Spine Journal, and is an ad hoc reviewer for several other journals.

    Dr. Benzel has authored ten textbooks, edited 28 texts and contributed to over 370 book chapters. His seminal texts, Biomechanics of Spine Stabilization (1st, 2nd and 3rd Editions) and Spine Surgery: Techniques, Complications, Avoidance and Management (1st, 2nd and 3rd Editions) are the highlights of his publication endeavors.

    Dr. Benzel holds ten patents and has participated in many medical advances. He is perhaps best known as an educator. He initiated and directed the Neurosurgery Residency Training Program and the Spine Fellowship Programs at the University of New Mexico, and has been instrumental in the development and success of these programs at the Cleveland Clinic. His innovations in neurosurgery resident education have won accolades and numerous awards. In February 2011, Dr. Benzel was chosen to receive the Paul C. Bucy Award for his exemplary efforts offering educational opportunities to his fellow neurosurgeons. Most recently, in 2013, Dr. Benzel was deeply honored by the acknowledgement for his “outstanding contribution to medical science worldwide” at the 13th Congress of Spine Surgery in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

    Dr. Benzel is a leader and innovator in the neurosurgery community. The CNS is honored to have him join us in Boston and share his expertise and knowledge in education and spine care.

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