We use state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging, computer-assisted navigation and advanced microsurgical techniques. The department collaborates with other departments to ensure comprehensive care of neurosurgical patients, including:
- Diagnostic radiology
- Neuro-interventional radiology
- Critical care
- Dedicated neurological service
- Specialty trained nurses
- Rehabilitation specialists
The unique working partnership among the departments of neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, neuroradiology, and rehabilitation medicine makes our interdisciplinary approach succeed. The neurosurgery doctors in these specialties are committed to a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, helping to ensure the right diagnosis and the most effective treatment plan. Learn more:
- Gamma Knife
- Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
- Nerve Reconstruction
- Neurological Rehabilitation
- Spinal Cord Rehabilitation
Gamma Knife is the most accurate tool for treating brain tumors and other neurological disease without open brain surgery. This minimally invasive alternative to conventional brain surgery allows for a safe and effective treatment, typically with fewer side effects. As a result, this is an outpatient treatment.
Gamma Knife is a machine that uses imaging technology to focus hundreds of tiny radiation beams at a precise targeted location of the brain. Specialized equipment keeps your head steady during the procedure so radiation targets only your cancer, not healthy tissue. The procedure delivers a very strong dose of radiation so you generally need just one pain-free session. Since Gamma Knife spares most healthy tissue, you experience fewer side effects from treatment than from other forms of radiation.
Gamma Knife surgery may serve as the patient's primary treatment, or it can be used in conjunction with other modalities, such as conventional surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Its unique capabilities are effective on a range of conditions, including benign and malignant brain tumors and functional disorders. Research and clinical trials are ongoing to assess the effectiveness of Gamma Knife in treating intractable pain, obsessive compulsive disorders, headaches and epilepsy.
- Safe: Since there is no incision, the risk of surgical complications, such as infection, hemorrhage, and reactions to anesthesia are minimal. The vast majority of adult patients require only local anesthesia and a mild sedative during the procedure.
- Precise: Gamma Knife sets the bar for accuracy, with a level of precision that enhances physician confidence and ensures patient safety. Gamma Knife delivers radiation to the targeted area with pinpoint accuracy, enabling the surgeon to destroy diseased tissue while preserving the healthy surrounding brain tissue.
- Fast: The Gamma Knife procedure takes less than one hour and generally requires only one session. The procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Patients are able to go home the same day.
- Less Expensive: Since the procedure and recovery times for Gamma Knife surgery are significantly less than traditional neurosurgery, the cost of the Gamma Knife procedure is often 25 to 30 percent less than open brain surgery. Medicare and most insurance plans cover the cost of the procedure.
- Less painful: As a non-invasive technique, patients experience little discomfort during the surgery and have virtually no post-operative recovery pain.
- Successful: This surgical procedure has been developed and refined during the past 40 years. Its clinical success has been demonstrated worldwide. More than 2,500 peer-reviewed articles have been published about the Gamma Knife, and nearly 350,000 patients have benefited from Gamma Knife surgery.
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
The surgeons at MedStar Health have extensive training and experience in performing microscopic and minimally invasive spinal surgeries.
During minimally invasive techniques, MedStar Health surgeons make a small incision and use advanced computer technology and specialized instruments to repair back and spine conditions. In microscopic surgery, we combine minimally invasive techniques with highly sensitive, cutting-edge surgical microscopes to access even the most delicate areas with precision.
Minimally invasive techniques offer patients:
- Faster recovery time than traditional spinal surgery
- Reduced infection
- Reduced blood loss
- Less scarring
- Faster return to your regular lifestyle
More information on this type of treatment is available here.
Nerve Reconstruction Surgery
In order to preserve function when nerves are damaged, surgeons use microsurgical suturing techniques. However, surgeons are often not able to reconnect the nerve fibers because of the amount of damage at the injury site. Instead, our surgeons use a combination of the following to repair the nerves:
- Nerve conduits (tubes to bridge small nerve defects)
- Nerve allografts (processed human nerve to bridge small-large nerve gaps)
- Nerve allografts (used from the patient him/herself from other, less critical nerves)
Some examples of the types of injuries that are candidates for this treatment include:
- Hand/finger injuries with sharp objects (usually knife) resulting in scar, pain, and/or numbness
- Traumatic or surgical injuries or any major upper or lower extremity nerve injury resulting in acute or delayed loss of the nerve function
- Nerve deficit following nerve tumor removal
- Patient with peroneal nerve neuropathy
Repairs such as these should ideally be done immediately (same day). If that is not possible, every attempt should be made to perform nerve repair within three to four weeks. After that period, it's possible there will be irreversible loss of nerve function. Once the nerve is reconstructed, it recovers at a rate of approximately one half millimeter to one millimeter per day.