If you think neurosurgeons are only needed when you have a brain tumor, use that brain to “think again.”
Dr. Jimmy Miller and Dr. Craig Clark, Greenwood Leflore’s board certified neurosurgeons, treat everything from carpal tunnel syndrome to herniated discs and, indeed, brain tumors. If your primary doctor recommends a neurosurgical evaluation for your neck or arm pain, back or leg pain or any constellation of symptoms which might suggest the involvement of the nervous system, Greenwood Leflore’s highly trained surgeons can evaluate your problem and advise you on the best course of treatment.
A neurosurgeon is a physician who treats disorders of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system through surgical intervention.
Tumor removal or decompression: Brain tumors can range from small, benign lesions to aggressive, malignant growths. Certain types do not require removal but can be monitored with regular office visits and radiologic scans.
Ventricular shunting: Cerebrospinal fluid surrounds the brain and fills the internal spaces of the brain. If these cavities enlarge due to Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus or other abnormalities, the fluid pressure can be regulated by placement of a shunt system.
Spinal cord (cervical, thoracic and lumbar)
Herniated discs: The intervertebral discs provide cushions between the bones of the cervical (neck), thoracic(mid-back) and lumbar vertebral bodies. When these discs become more fragile, dry or fragmented, they can bulge and place pressure on the nerves which lead to other parts of the body. This is referred to as “radiculopathy” and manifests itself as pain along affected nerve’s pathway, i.e., arm pain with a cervical disc or leg pain with a lumber disc. Treatment options include pain medication, physical therapy/traction, epidural steroid injections or surgery to relieve the pressure on the affected nerve.
Spinal stenosis: Degenerating discs, bone spurs or arthritic changes can narrow the canal through which the spinal cord or nerves pass, leading to compression of the nerves, or spinal cord damage (myelopathy) if untreated . In the low back, this is most often manifest as aching or cramping pain in the lower extremities that subsides with sitting down. In the neck, it may result in spinal cord damage (myelopathy) if untreated. This may be manifested with neck or back pain, upper or lower extremity discomfort or difficulty with balance, fine motor movements or urinary and bowel incontinence. Treatment options include pain medication, epidural steroid injections or surgery to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord.
Traumatic and osteoporotic fractures: All of the vertebral bones of the spinal column are subject to fracture if subjected to enough force. Treatment may include surgery to stabilize the bones or immobilization with braces or collars. Older patients, particularly women, may suffer from osteoporosis, a thinning of the bone’s normal framework, which can lead to compression fractures with little or no trauma. While neurosurgeons can evaluate osteoporotic fractures, they are usually treated with bracing or injections into the fractured bone (kyphoplasty or vertebrosplasty).
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction: The sacroiliac joint is found in the lowest part of the back, where the sacrum (the last bone in the vertebral column, or “tailbone”) joins the iliac bone of the pelvis. Inflammation or arthritis in this joint can radiate into the lower back or hip, mimicking lumbar disease. Diagnosis involves physical examination or imaging studies, and treatment options range from medications to injections to surgical fusion.
Carpal tunnel syndrome: The nerves which innervate the hand travel through a small canal (the “carpal tunnel”) which runs through the palm side of the wrist. When these nerves are pinched, tingling and pain can radiate into the fingers or even radiate up the arm to the neck. If untreated, muscular atrophy may develop in the hand. Treatment options include pain medication, occupational therapy, wrist splints or an outpatient surgical procedure, Carpal Tunnel Release.
Ulnar neuropathy: Just as nerves can be trapped in the carpal tunnel, the ulnar nerve can be pinched on the back side of the elbow, causing pain down the arm into the little-finger-side of the hand or up toward the neck. An Ulnar Nerve Transposition moves the nerve from its constricted location to a more protected position on the inner side of the elbow.