October 31, 2013

Lee named to lead Neurosurgical Anesthesiology

Lorri Lee, M.D., has been named chief of the newly formed Division of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology.

Lorri Lee, M.D., has been named chief of the newly formed Division of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology.

Lorri Lee, M.D.

The new division within the Department of Anesthesiology was created in response to steadily increasing patient numbers in the area of neurosurgery, as well as new innovations that have led to increasing types of neurosurgical procedures offered at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Anesthesiology faculty specializing in neuroanesthesia have been providing a growing number of complex anesthesia and sedation services, including anesthesia for placement of deep brain stimulators for treatment of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, and, most recently, for treatment of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

VUMC has six designated neurosurgical operating rooms. Neuroanesthesia is also provided in VUMC’s neurointerventional radiology suites, as well as at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

“We have been running a busy anesthesia service for neurosurgeries, and these cases are typically very complex and require a significant commitment of clinical hours and development of expertise,” said Warren Sandberg, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Anesthesiology.

“We have strong partners in the Department of Neurological Surgery. As their department has continued to grow, the logical move was to create a specialized subdivision within the Anesthesiology department to better support the neurosurgeons. We are excited to welcome a neuroanesthesiologist of Dr. Lee’s stature to fill the role of chief for this new division.”

Lee is an expert on perioperative vision loss following non-ocular surgeries, and is the director of the national Postoperative Visual Loss Registry established by the American Society of Anesthesiologists in 1999.

She led the multicenter case-control study that compared cases of vision loss collected in this registry to similar cases without vision loss, enabling physicians to better define risk factors associated with perioperative vision loss.

Lee was previously a professor of Anesthesiology and Neurological Surgery (adjunct) at University of Washington, Seattle. She is a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ closed claims group, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) executive committee, and co-edits the APSF Newsletter.

She received her medical degree from the West Virginia University School of Medicine, completed a fellowship in transplantation research at Massachusetts General Hospital, and completed her residency in Anesthesiology at the University of Washington.

To assist in the development of the new division, Letha Mathews, M.D., associate professor of Clinical Anesthesiology, has been named associate chief for the Division of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology.

Mathews has been a faculty member of the Department of Anesthesiology since 1994, and has been instrumental in developing the neuroanesthesia team at Vanderbilt.