MedStar Health offers a wide range of neurosurgical treatment services performed by board-certified neurosurgeon specialists. Our doctors are committed to a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, helping to ensure the right diagnosis and the most effective treatment plan. We offer some of the most advanced treatments and technologies currently available. We offer new hope to patients who have been told their brain or spinal tumors are inoperable, and we are on the cutting edge of research in movement disorders, epilepsy, and stroke treatment.
Neurosurgical Treatment Options
- Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)
- Gamma Knife
- Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
- Nerve Decompression
- Nerve Reconstruction
When you choose CyberKnife treatment at MedStar Health, you can rest assured that you're getting one of the most advanced treatments for cancer available—and the nation’s most experienced CyberKnife experts. The specialists at MedStar Health use CyberKnife to kill cancerous cells in the brain and spinal cord, as well as to destroy skull base tumors. Though it sounds like a surgical procedure, CyberKnife is actually a painless and non-invasive form of radiation that offers accurate, effective treatment for tumors anywhere in the body—even in places previously considered unreachable. CyberKnife uses a combination of computers, image-guided cameras, and robotic technology to concentrate radiation directly at tumor cells, while limiting radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is based on the same technology used in cardiac pacemakers—it delivers carefully controlled electrical stimulation to precisely targeted areas of the brain that affects movement. The electrical charge interrupts or overrides the brain's faulty signals and, in conjunction with medication, reduces the rigidity, tremors, slow movement, and other symptoms of advanced movement disorders.
In general, you become a candidate for DBS if:
- Suffer moderate to severe symptoms
- Begin to experience difficulty or side-effects with medication, but are still responsive
- Have no indication of dementia
- Are in overall good health
DBS is both reversible and adjustable, making it a vast improvement over other surgeries. As a patient's disease progresses over time, the device can be reprogrammed accordingly to minimize new or increasing symptoms. The device can also be removed entirely to make way for newer treatments, improved techniques, or a medical cure.
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 grain 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. [Link to Neurologic Oncology page] Research and clinical trials are ongoing to assess the effectiveness of Gamma Knife in treating intractable pain, obsessive compulsive disorders, headaches and epilepsy.
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
Nerve decompression surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to relieve pressure caused by a neuroma, a pinched or entrapped nerve. Your surgeon relieves the pressure on the nerve by cutting tight tunnels around it. This way, even though the nerve is still swollen, there is no pressure on it from surrounding structures in your body, enabling the nerve to start functioning normally again.
Patients suffering symptoms (numbness, pain, and/or functional loss) from such conditions, who have not found relief through other, more conservative methods, may consider nerve decompression surgery. The specialists at MedStar Health can address the following with this treatment:
- Upper extremities: Surgery for carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel, or decompression of radial nerve
- Lower extremities: Surgery for femoral nerve, peroneal (foot drop) nerve, tarsal tunnel release
- Trunk: Thigh pain, burning or numbness (called meralgia paresthetica), release of lateral femoral cutaneous nerve
- Chronic migraine headaches: Decompression of nerves in the back, side and/or front of the head.
- Diabetic neuropathy
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