Why do Neurosurgeons treat "back" problems?
Ask most people what neurosurgeons do and they'll
tell you they operate on the brain. People are often
surprised when we tell them that neurosurgeons are
back specialists, too! Today more than 80% of the
nation's 3800 active neurosurgeons specialize in
treating back problems.
perform many of the surgeries used to provide relief
from the degenerative spinal condition known as
lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). LSS is characterized
by intermittent pain in the lower back which radiates
to the buttocks, thighs, and legs of older patients.
LSS is often associated with numbness, tingling,
and weakness when walking. In its
most advanced stages, LSS can occasionally cause severe neurological
problems, including significant leg weakness and
difficulty with bowel and bladder function.
For advanced cases, surgery is often the only treatment
of choice. The most common procedure, known as decompressive
laminectomy, is performed about 60,000 times annually
on patients over 60, with improvement in 75-80 percent
of patients. Many patients can resume normal activities
including walking, golf and gardening. Improvements
can be remarkable!
Why does a herniated disc in my back cause pain in my leg?
With wear and tear, a fragment from the inside of a disc can migrate out of the disc space and
lodge itself under a nerve root. This is called a disc herniation. Since the disc
herniation pinches a nerve, it can cause greate pain, numbness, and/or weakness down the path
of that particular nerve (usually into the arm or leg).
If nonsurgical treatments fail, then we usually recommend a microdiskectomy. This involves
removing the disc fragment through a small incision, with the aid of an operating microscope.
Patients are usually only hospitalized overnight, and recover quickly.
Should I have surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome?
the median nerve is compressed in the tunnel
of ligaments, bones, and tendons at the wrist, known
as the "carpal tunnel", numbness, tingling,
and pain in the thumb and adjacent two fingers occurs.
If the compression is severe enough or has been
present long enough, nerve damage will occur. With nerve damage,
the prominent muscles at the base of the thumb begin to atrophy,
or waste away. In addition, the sensation at the
fingertips begins to slowly decrease, and simple
tactile functioning, such as buttoning your clothes,
can be impaired. If left untreated, the median nerve
injury can become permanent and irreversible.
treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome is prescribed
after conservative (nonsurgical) treatment is no
longer effective in controlling the symptoms mentioned
above. Our surgical procedure involves complete
division of the carpal ligament using a small one-half
inch incision in the crease of the wrist. The procedure
takes about ten minutes and the incision is closed
with two to three stitches. Return to work usually occurs
within three weeks, and regular activities resume
more information, simply call our office for a brochure.
Also, our Carpal Tunnel Coordinator is available during office
hours for your questions.
How is tremor treated?
Tremor is a specific type of movement disorder
that may be caused by Parkinson's Disease, essential
tremor, or multiple sclerosis. Most patients with
tremor are able to live with their illness. Many
use medication successfully. Sometimes, however,
tremor becomes too severe and patients cannot perform
their normal daily activities, such as holding a
cup without spilling the contents.
specially trained neurosugeon can perform DBS (Deep
Brain Stimulation) on patients who have failed medical
treatment, or when their medications have become less
effective. DBS involves placement of a small
electrode into the brain area where movement is
controlled. This electrode is attached to a stimulator
much like a cardiac pacemaker. The entire DBS device
sits permanently under the skin, and can be very
effective in controlling severe tremor and other
movement problems related to Parkinson's Disease.
For more information on this procedure, contact
What are cerebral aneurysms and how are they
Cerebral aneurysms are weakened points in
a blood vessel that feeds the brain. These areas
balloon outward like a blister, and can rupture, causing
severe bleeding and stroke. Unfortunately, most
patients with aneurysms do not know they have one
until it bleeds.
Aneurysms may also be discovered unexpectedly on an MRI or arteriogram that is being
performed for a different reason.
an aneurysm has bled or not, we can treat them through
surgery to prevent future bleeding.
We also work with neuroradiologists, who have a nonsurgical approach
to treating aneurysms. They are able to treat aneurysms from within the blood vessel itself by
using a small catheter.
are certain risks and benefits to either of these
procedures, and we would be happy to discuss the
options with you if you are seeking treatment.
What is carotid stenosis and how is it treated?
Carotid stenosis is a narrowing of one of
the major blood vessels that feeds the brain. The
narrowing can cause strokes to occur. For certain
patients, studies have clearly shown that surgical
treatment of this condition is superior to medical
treatment alone (taking a blood thinner). Surgery involves
removing the plaque that resides within the wall
of the artery, thereby creating room for the blood
to flow more freely.
What are the different types of brain tumors
and how are they treated?
There are many different types of brain tumors.
They can be benign or malignant, and can either
arise from brain tissue itself, or can spread from
other parts of the body. Depending on the patient's
condition and the tumor's type, size, and location,
there are different treatment options available.
main types of treatment include surgical removal
or biopsy, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Sometimes a patient needs a combination of one or more treatments.