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Diagnosis and Treatment
Our neurosurgeons perform thousands of spinal surgeries each year using the newest and most advanced techniques available. Patients are feeling better and returning to their lives faster than ever before. We are involved in pioneering new techniques to improve patient outcomes every day.
Spine Therapies Group
Since the vast majority of patients with spine disease can be effectively treated with conservative medical care, the Neuroscience Institute has created a network of physical therapists, chiropractors, physiatrists and pain management specialists to coordinate spine care with standardized protocols and carefully track long-term outcomes.
More than 800 microdiscectomies are performed at the Neuroscience Institute every year. A portion of the herniated disk is removed to decompress an irritated nerve root through a skin incision that can often be covered with a band-aid. The average length of stay is now less than 24 hours. Our neurosurgeons are skilled in the latest minimally invasive approaches to microdiscectomy using either an endoscope or microscope.
This procedure is performed on the lower spine to relieve pressure on one or more nerve roots. The surgeon reaches the lumbar spine through a small incision in the lower back and removes the source of compression – a part of the herniated disk or bone spur. Using new techniques, we can now implant a device called the X Stop under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis to relieve the debilitating pain from lumbar stenosis.
Anterior Cervical Discectomy
This operation is performed on the upper spine to relieve pressure on one or more nerve roots or on the spinal cord. During this procedure, the intervertebral disc and bone spurs are removed from a small incision in the front of the neck.
Patients with osteoporosis or metastatic disease can suffer from painful compression fractures of the spine. Our neurosurgeons are able to percutaneously introduce balloons within the compressed and fractured vertebrae to restore alignment of the spine. Cement is then injected into the bone to provide support where the bone has been weakened. Significant pain relief can be nearly immediate and recovery time is minimal.
Spinal Fusion and Instrumentation
We employ the latest techniques and materials to perform spinal instrumentation procedures. Instrumentation may be required to correct degenerative arthritis, fractured or injured vertebrae, scoliosis, spinal osteoporosis, spinal tumor, and spondylolisthesis. A wide range of options are available for the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. Depending on the condition, an anterior, lateral, or posterior approach may be used. Many of our neurosurgeons specialize in minimally invasive spinal instrumentation and fusion.
Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery
We specialize in the newest minimally invasive techniques for the spine. Smaller incisions and less dissection of normal tissue are speeding up recovery and healing. Microscopes, endoscopes, navigation techniques and intraoperative neuro-navigational techniques are increasing patient safety and improving outcomes.
Restorative Spine Surgery
Total disc arthroplasty or artificial disc replacement is a procedure that involves removal of intervertebral discs and replacement with prostheses in severe degenerative disc disease. This procedure avoids vertebral body fusion and can restore near normal spine motion. In the appropriately selected patient, pain relief is dramatic. Artificial disc replacement is currently FDA approved for the lumbar spine. Allegheny General Hospital has been instrumental in studying the use of artificial discs in the cervical spine.
There is an ever increasing incidence of spine problems in the aging population. These individuals often have multiple associated medical problems. The Neuroscience Institute has developed a specialized program to meet the unique needs of these patients. Combining minimally invasive surgery, shorter hospital stays, and geriatric medical care is improving patient outcomes and quality of life for senior citizens.
To ensure a smooth transition from hospitalization to life in the community, we provide comprehensive discharge planning, assistance with entitlements from disability programs and various forms of adaptation training. Our rehabilitation team consists of physiatrists, consulting medical specialists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers and case managers. This coordinated approach contributes to maximal recovery for each patient.
Our Integrated Medicine Program incorporates the best conventional and natural healing practices to strengthen the health and well-being of patients. The program is respectful of the emotional, social, spiritual, and physical dimensions of health and illness. Our team of experienced and qualified practitioners provides additional services that expand the scope of care and treatment benefiting both patients and medical staff. By working with physicians and patients to treat, educate, and empower, the Integrated Medicine Program assists in developing a larger healing experience that carries on after treatment at our hospitals.