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    Home >> Article
    Takanori Fukushima aims to elevate China’s neurosurgery level
    By:Fan Yicheng, Wu Qiong  |  From:www.atbmusic.com  |  2019-10-09 10:14

    Doctor Takanori Fukushima is a Japanese neurosurgeon who works as a foreign expert and chief consultant at Shanghai Punan Hospital. Not long ago, he was honored with the Shanghai Magnolia Award by the Shanghai municipality.

    A few hours before the awards ceremony, he spent over an hour on a surgery with his Chinese colleague Liu Weidong, president of Shanghai Punan Hospital. The “Keyhole surgery” technique they utilized was invented by Dr. Fukushima. Their particular keyhole surgery technique is where a small hole (about the size of a 10 cent coin) is drilled on the head and the affected area is operated on with the use of a microscope, which can shorten the recovery of patients significantly compared to a conventional craniotomy.

    Dr. Fukushima is known as “the man with the Hands of God.” Born in Tokyo in 1942, he is a professor of skull base neurosurgery at Duke University who has experience in conducting surgeries in Japan, the US and China and has devised hundreds of neurosurgical instruments. He has been named one of the top 100 Japanese who have changed the world. 

    (1st from right: Takanori Fukushima)

    In 2011, Dr. Fukushima came to Shanghai and set up a training base at Shanghai Punan Hospital. In 2015, the Best Doctors Club was established in Shanghai, where top-notch doctors from the US, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Japan, and China, other than Dr. Fukushima, consulted at Punan Hospital. 

    (Dr. Fukushima in a surgery with a Chinese team)

    At the age of 77, Dr. Fukushima still keeps a busy daily schedule. He said his connections with Shanghai started with his friendship with Liu Weidong. 

    At the end of the last century, he came across Liu, the first Chinese to qualify as a MD in Japan, at a global conference. The two became good friends soon and because of Liu, Dr. Fukushima has had a special bond with Shanghai.  
    Invited by Liu, Dr. Fukushima has come to Shanghai once or twice every year, imparting surgical techniques and expertise to more than 200 specialists from China and the 3rd world. So far, over 1,000 neurosurgery specialists have attended his training class.

    In the meantime, he has used his global network to invite world-famous experts in neurosurgery to take part in various academic exchanges in Shanghai, thus helping elevate China’s academic level in neurosurgery. 

    In 2015, the Best Doctors Club decided to settle in Shanghai. “I have been to several cities in China, and Shanghai’s medical level is among the top. Shanghai’s hospitals are of international standards in terms of infrastructure, management, procedures and service,” commented Dr. Fukushima. The goal of the club is to cultivate 300 backbone neurosurgeons within ten years.

    Besides Shanghai, Dr. Fukushima also pays attention to the medical development in China’s underprivileged areas. Under his initiative, the Best Doctors Club Foundation brings internationals experts to help train doctors and conduct free surgeries in those areas and their good deeds have won positive feedback. 

    During his stays in Shanghai, Dr. Fukushima spends most of his time in the operating room besides his training class. “I will do surgeries until 85 years old. I will come to Shanghai every year,” he said, believing that Shanghai is China’s medical highland and Shanghai’s doctors are good at diagnosis and operation skills. Medical institutions in Shanghai boast higher comprehensive levels and each hospital has their own specialist disciplines.

    “The secret to health is working non-stop,” said the Japanese doctor. Over the past five decades, he has performed 24,000 surgeries. At peak times, he has 900 cases annually and even has 11 cases in a single day. In his seventies, he still plays an active role at the forefront of medical treatment, be it consultation, surgery, young doctor training or academic activity.

    As a surgeon, there are enormous pressures to face. Dr. Fukushima mitigates this by skiing and listening to and playing jazz. He likes nostalgic jazz music and played in his own band in high school. A few years after graduation, he set up a jazz band with other doctors and once performed a concert in Shanghai. Speaking of his beloved music, Fukushima becomes very excited, and hums once in a while. “There are bigger risks in neurosurgeries, so doctors feel more stressed. Listening to jazz can help me relax and reduce fatigue.” 

    (3rd from right: Dr. Fukushima at the awards ceremony) 

    As a laureate of the 2019 Shanghai Magnolia Silver Award, Dr. Fukushima said, “I’ve been working with Shanghai Punan Hospital for 12 years, and have been friends with Liu Weidong for all that time. I am really grateful to the Shanghai municipality for giving me this honor. In the future, I will continue to work with China in the medical field, so as to help more patients.”