Walter Jean, MD, has joined Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) and will serve as Chief of Neurosurgery.
Jean is a board-certified neurosurgeon with expertise in complex intracranial surgery. He is known world-wide for his expertise in complex brain surgery. With nearly 20 years’ experience in both open and endoscopic skull base surgery, Jean has several clinical interests including acoustic neuromas, pituitary adenomas, skull base meningioma, intraventricular tumors, and trigeminal neuralgia. His acclaimed textbook, “Skull Base Surgery: Strategies,” is used by neurosurgeons across the globe to learn about open and endoscopic skull base surgery.
“I’m excited to join LVHN and continue to build on their solid foundation,” Jean says. “I hope to take LVHN Neurosurgery to the next level with robust clinical activity, research and innovation as well as education.”
As a pioneer, Jean utilizes virtual reality in neurosurgery.
“Virtual reality allows everyday people to fly to new lands in video games, augmented reality takes fighter pilots through scenarios training them for the unexpected,” Jean says. “Now brain surgeons and patients can also use these technologies to fly through the brain.”
Why is this so important? Jean says for those who find themselves in need of complex brain surgery, not only can they better visualize their upcoming procedure, their surgeon also gains additional insight. Jean is the only physician in the area using this groundbreaking technology.
“We meet hundreds of patients and explain to them our surgical plan,” Jean says. “That communication can be difficult at times. Once we have a patient’s brain scans loaded into the augmented reality software, they have the ability to see their own anatomy to gain a better understanding. When patients place the headset over their eyes, they are transported to a virtual replica of their own brain.”
The experience offers a visual explanation which is often easier to understand than medical terminology.
Another benefit of this leading-edge technology is that it allows brain surgeons create a surgery plan by simulating different scenarios to find the best approach. “The genesis of the technology is from air fighter pilots. The founders of the company discovered they could use the same technology in the medical field,” Jean says. “Just like fighter pilots, brain surgeons are able to practice unique scenarios to be fully prepared for their mission.”
Jean comes to LVHN from George Washington University Hospital, where he was a professor of neurological surgery. A native of Hong Kong, Jean attended Princeton University, where he graduated summa cum laude, and Cornell University Medical College, where he graduated at the top of his class and was elected Alpha Omega Alpha, a medical honor society. He completed neurosurgical training at the University of Minnesota, and fellowship in Skull Base Surgery at the University of Cincinnati.
Jean’s academic credentials includes being Program Director at Georgetown University for 7 years. He has authored numerous scholarly publications and has an international reputation as an energetic lecturer and passionate teacher of neurosurgery. Jean serves as reviewer for many high-impact journals such as the Journal of Neuro-Oncology, World Neurosurgery, Operative Neurosurgery, and Journal of Neurological Surgery, Part B. He is an active member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the North American Skull Base Society and serves frequently as faculty at their national meetings.