Neurological & Spinal Surgery

Thank you for choosing the top neurosurgery group in Central Iowa. Our team of board-certified neurosurgeons is dedicated to diagnosing and treating conditions of the brain and spine. Health issues such as head trauma, brain tumors, degenerative spine disease, nervous system disorders and spinal cord injuries can be life changing. From initial diagnosis to treatment and recovery, our team of specialists will use advanced technology, therapies and surgical techniques when providing your care. Our goal is to improve your condition with the most appropriate, least invasive options available.

We perform hundreds of neurosurgery procedures annually at Iowa Methodist Medical Center and at the level two pediatric center at Blank Children’s Hospital, making us the best and most experienced surgery team in Central Iowa.

Locations & Directions

Main Locations

Methodist Medical Center – Plaza II

(515) 241-5760
Mon-Thurs: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. | Fri: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
1215 Pleasant Street, Suite 608
Des Moines, IA 50309

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Patient Information

ANATOMY OF THE SPINE

Anatomy of the Spine (.pdf)

The spine is made of 33 individual bones stacked one on top of the other. Ligaments and muscles connect the bones together and keep them aligned. The spinal column provides the main support for your body, allowing you to stand upright, bend, and twist. Protected deep inside the bones, the spinal cord connects your body to the brain, allowing movement of your arms and legs. Strong muscles and bones, flexible tendons and ligaments, and sensitive nerves contribute to a healthy spine.

ANTERIOR CERVICAL DISCECTOMY AND FUSION (ACDF)

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) (.pdf)

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a surgery to remove a herniated or degenerative disc in the cervical (neck) spine. The incision is made in the front of the spine, through the throat area. After the disc is removed, a bone graft is inserted to fuse together the vertebrae above and below the disc space. Your doctor may recommend a discectomy if physical therapy or medications fail to relieve your neck or arm pain caused by compressed spinal nerves. Patients typically go home the same day; recovery time takes 4 weeks.

BACK PAIN

Back pain (.pdf)

Back pain results when the spine is stressed by injury, poor posture, disease, wear and tear, or poor body mechanics. Most people will suffer from back pain at some point in their life. Acute low back pain is abrupt, intense pain that subsides after a period of days or weeks. It typically resolves with rest, exercise, and other self-care measures. Some people suffer from chronic pain that continues despite treatment.

BRACES AND ORTHOTICS

Braces and Orthotics (.pdf)

Your doctor may prescribe a neck or back brace for you to wear after a spinal injury or surgery. A brace does three things: immobilizes your spine during healing; stabilizes injured areas; controls pain by restricting movement.

CHIROPRACTIC CARE

Chiropractic Care (.pdf)

Chiropractic medicine aims to improve health by restoring structure and function to the spine and other joints. Stress, accidents, overexertion, or other injuries may cause minor displacement (subluxation) of the spinal vertebra. When a vertebra is displaced or an extremity is affected, muscle tension or irritation to the spinal nerves can result, causing pain (e.g., neck, back, headache, whiplash) and impairing overall health.

DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE

Degenerative disc disease (.pdf)

Degenerative disc disease is a condition caused by the breakdown of your spinal discs. As you age, your spine begins to show signs of wear and tear as your discs dry out and shrink. These age-related changes can lead to arthritis, disc herniation, or spinal stenosis, which can put pressure on your spinal cord and nerves and may cause back pain. Physical therapy, self-care, pain medication, and spinal injections are used first to control the symptoms. Surgery is an option if the pain is chronic.

EPIDURAL STEROID INJECTION (ESI

Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI (.pdf)

An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is a minimally invasive procedure that can help relieve neck, arm, back, and leg pain caused by inflamed spinal nerves. ESI may be performed to relieve pain caused by spinal stenosis, spondylolysis, or disc herniation. Medicines are delivered to the spinal nerve through the epidural space, the area between the protective covering of the spinal cord and vertebrae. The effects of ESI tend to be temporary. Pain relief may last for several days or even years.

EXERCISE FOR A HEALTHY BACK

Exercise for a Healthy Back (.pdf)

Exercise is a vital part of improving and maintaining normal, comfortable back function. It is important to exercise regularly so you can maintain your fitness level. Regular exercise is important to prevent back pain and injury. A program of strengthening, stretching and aerobic exercises will improve your overall fitness level. Research has shown that people who are physically fit are more resistant to back injuries and pain, and recover quicker when they do have injuries, than those who are less physically fit.

CORE EXERCISES TO STRENGTHEN THE SPINE

Core Exercises to Strengthen the Spine (.pdf)

Just as the stays support the mast and the cables support the bridge, your core muscles support your spine. The muscles in your abdomen and back – which we call the “core” – are central to your everyday spine health. They are at the heart of any fitness regimen designed to strengthen a healthy or ailing back. Just as you protect your heart through cardiovascular exercises, you will benefit from strengthening your back through core exercises.

FACET INJECTION

Facet Injection (.pdf)

A facet injection is a minimally invasive procedure that can temporarily relieve neck or back pain caused by inflamed facet joints. The cause of facet joint pain (arthritis, injury, degeneration) is not well understood and can be similar in nature to disc pain. The procedure has two purposes. First, it can be used as a diagnostic test to see if the pain is actually coming from your facet joints. Second, it can be used as a treatment to relieve inflammation and pain caused by various spine conditions. The effects of facet injections tend to be temporary – providing relief for several days or even years.

HERNIATED CERVICAL DISC

Herniated cervical disc (.pdf)

A herniated disc occurs when the gel-like center of a disc ruptures through a weak area in the tough outer wall. Neck or arm pain, numbness or tingling may result when the disc material touches or compresses a spinal nerve. Treatment with rest, pain medication, spinal injections, and physical therapy is the first step to recovery. Most people improve in 6 weeks and return to normal activity. If symptoms continue, surgery to remove a portion of the disc and any bone spurs may be recommended.

HERNIATED LUMBAR DISC

Herniated lumbar disc (.pdf)

A herniated disc occurs when the gel-like center of a disc ruptures through a weak area in the tough outer wall. Back or leg pain, numbness or tingling may result when the disc material touches or compresses a spinal nerve. Treatment with rest, pain medication, spinal injections, and physical therapy is the first step to recovery. Most people improve in 6 weeks and return to normal activity. If symptoms continue, surgery to remove a portion of the disc and any bone spurs may be recommended.

INTRATHECAL DRUG PUMP

Intrathecal drug pump (.pdf)

Intrathecal drug delivery, or “pain pump,” is a method of giving medication directly to your spinal cord. The system uses a small pump that is surgically placed under the skin of your abdomen and delivers medication through a catheter to the area around your spinal cord – similar to an epidural that women may have during childbirth. Because the medication is delivered directly to the spinal cord, your symptoms can be controlled with a much smaller dose than is needed with oral medication.

NECK PAIN

Neck pain (.pdf)

Neck pain results when the spine is stressed by injury, poor posture, disease, wear and tear, or poor body mechanics. Acute neck pain is abrupt, intense pain that subsides after a period of days or weeks. It can also radiate to the head, shoulders, arms, or hands. It typically resolves with rest, exercise, and other self-care measures. Some people suffer from chronic pain that continues despite treatment.

PAIN MANAGEMENT

Pain management (.pdf)

Acute pain starts suddenly and improves over time with healing. Chronic pain persists and is often present in ongoing conditions such as arthritis or cancer. Pain management is an integrated approach to making pain tolerable by learning physical, emotional, intellectual and social skills. This may include exercise, physical therapy, medication, holistic therapies, and counseling. With these techniques, you stay in control of your health.

PHYSICAL MEDICINE & REHABILITATION

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (.pdf)

Physiatry, also called physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), is a medical specialty that primarily uses physical means to help in diagnosis, healing, and rehabilitation. Physiatrists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with chronic illness (e.g., stroke) or injury (e.g., spinal cord, brain), acute and chronic pain, and musculoskeletal injuries (e.g., sports-, work-related). Many physiatrists specialize in the treatment of back pain.

PHYSICAL THERAPY

Physical therapy (.pdf)

The principles of physical therapy have been part of healing arts since recorded time. Physical therapy is an important part of a nonsurgical approach to restore, maintain, and promote overall health. Working with a doctor, a physical therapist (PT) will help patients who have suffered an accident, injury, or disease, or those recovering from surgery.

POSTERIOR LUMBAR DISCECTOMY

Posterior lumbar discectomy (.pdf)

Lumbar discectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove a herniated or degenerative disc in the lower spine. The surgeon approaches the spine from posterior, through the back muscles. Your doctor may recommend a discectomy if physical therapy or medication fail to relieve leg or back pain that is caused by inflamed and compressed spinal nerves. Discectomy may also be recommended if you have signs of nerve damage, such as weakness or loss of feeling in your legs. The surgery can be performed in an open or minimally invasive technique.

POSTURE FOR A HEALTHY BACK

Posture for a Healthy Back (.pdf)

Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities.

 

PREPARING FOR LUMBAR SPINAL FUSION

Preparing for lumbar spinal fusion (.pdf)

Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure performed to permanently join together one or more bones of the spine. Fusing bones together can prevent painful motion and provide stability. An unstable spine can result from an injury, disease, or the natural aging process. When these changes allow abnormal movement of the vertebrae to rub against one another, back, leg, or arm pain may result. Fusing the vertebrae stabilizes and aligns the spine, maintains the normal disc space between the vertebrae, and prevents further damage to your spinal nerves and cord.

SCIATICA

Sciatica (.pdf)

Sciatica describes pain that begins in the lower back, radiating into the buttock and down the back of one leg. Pain is often caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve from a herniated disc, bone spurs or muscle strain. You play an important role in the prevention, treatment, and recovery of sciatic pain. Sciatica pain typically improves with rest, exercise, and other self-care measures. Chronic pain that continues despite treatment may be helped with surgery to relieve the underlying cause.

SELF CARE FOR NECK & BACK PAIN

Self care for neck & back pain (.pdf)

Eight out of 10 people will suffer from back or neck pain at some point in their life. Acute pain is abrupt, intense pain that subsides after a period of days or weeks. However, some people continue to suffer from pain that continues despite nonsurgical or surgical treatment methods. This long-term pain is called chronic pain.

SPINAL CORD STIMULATION

Spinal cord stimulation (.pdf)

Spinal cord stimulation uses low voltage stimulation of the spinal nerves to block the feeling of pain. It helps you to better manage your pain and potentially decrease the amount of pain medication. It may be an option if you have long-term (chronic) leg or arm pain, and have not found relief through traditional methods. A small battery-powered generator implanted in the body transmits an electrical current to your spinal cord. The result is a tingling sensation instead of pain.

SPINAL DECOMPRESSION, LAMINECTOMY

Spinal decompression, Laminectomy (.pdf)

Narrowing of the spinal canal, a condition called spinal stenosis can cause chronic pain, numbness, and muscle weakness in your arms or legs. The condition primarily afflicts elderly people and is caused by degenerative changes that result in enlargement of the facet joints and thickening of the ligaments. Constriction of the spinal cord and nerves may be effectively relieved with a spinal decompression procedure if your symptoms have not improved with physical therapy or medications. This surgery requires a hospital stay from 1 to 3 days and recovery takes between 4 to 6 weeks.

SPINAL FRACTURES

Spinal fractures (.pdf)

A fracture or dislocation of a vertebra can cause bone fragments to pinch and damage the spinal nerves or spinal cord. Most spinal fractures occur from car accidents, falls, gunshot, or sports. Injuries can range from relatively mild ligament and muscle strains, to fractures and dislocations of the bony vertebrae, to debilitating spinal cord damage. Depending on how severe your injury is, you may experience pain, difficulty walking, or be unable to move your arms or legs (paralysis). Many fractures heal with conservative treatment; however severe fractures may require surgery to realign the bones.

SPINAL STENOSIS

Spinal stenosis (.pdf)

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of your spinal canal and nerve root canal along with the enlargement of your facet joints. Most commonly it is caused by osteoarthritis and your body’s natural aging process. As the spinal canal narrows, there is less room for your nerves to branch out and move freely. As a result, they may become swollen and inflamed, which can cause pain, cramping, numbness or weakness in your legs, back, neck, or arms. Mild to moderate symptoms can be relieved with medications, physical therapy and spinal injections. Severe symptoms may require surgery.

SPONDYLOLYSIS AND SPONDYLOLISTHESIS

Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis (.pdf)

Spondylolysis (spon-dee-low-lye-sis) and spondylolisthesis (spon-dee-low-lis-thee-sis) are conditions that affect the moveable joints of the spine that help keep the vertebrae aligned one on top of the other. Spondylolysis is actually a weakness or stress fracture in one of the facet joints. This weakness can cause the vertebrae to slip forward out of their normal position, a condition called spondylolisthesis. Treatment options include physical therapy to strengthen the muscles surrounding the area. Sometimes the patient is placed in a brace. In severe cases, surgery is also an option.

VERTEBROPLASTY & KYPHOPLASTY

Vertebroplasty & kyphoplasty (.pdf)

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are minimally invasive procedures performed to treat vertebral compression fractures (VCF) of the spine. These fractures, which can be painful and limit spine mobility, are commonly caused by osteoporosis, spinal tumors, and traumatic injury. Traditional treatments of bed rest, pain medication, and braces are slow to relieve the pain. By injecting bone cement into the fractured bone and restoring the vertebra height, these procedures offer patients faster recovery and reduce the risk of future fractures in the treated bone.

WHO TREATS SPINE PROBLEMS?

Who treats spine problems? (.pdf)

Of the many types of specialists who treat spine problems, each has specific skills and plays an important role in patient care. Some spine specialists are physicians and some are non-physicians. The right specialist(s) to treat your condition depends on the type and severity of the problem. Spine problems can arise from soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments), nerves, or bone.

 

ANATOMY OF THE BRAIN

Anatomy of the Brain (.pdf)

The human brain is a mysterious three-pound organ that controls all functions of the body, interprets information from the outside world, and embodies the mind and soul. Intelligence, creativity, emotion, and memories are a few of the many things governed by the brain. The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and is divided into right and left hemispheres. Each hemisphere has four lobes: frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital. The cerebellum is located under the cerebrum. The brainstem acts as a relay center connecting the cerebrum and cerebellum to the spinal cord.

TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

Traumatic Brain Injury (.pdf)

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is sudden damage to the brain caused by a blow or jolt to the head. Common causes include car or motorcycle crashes, falls, sports injuries, and assaults. Injuries can range from mild concussions to severe permanent brain damage. The consequences of a brain injury can affect all aspects of a person’s life, including physical and mental abilities as well as emotions and personality. While treatment for mild TBI may include rest and medication, severe TBI may require intensive care and life-saving emergency surgery.

ACOUSTIC NEUROMA

Acoustic Neuroma (.pdf)

An acoustic neuroma is a tumor that grows from the nerves responsible for balance and hearing. More accurately called vestibular schwannoma, these tumors grow from the sheath covering the vestibulocochlear nerve. Acoustic neuromas are benign (not cancerous) and usually grow slowly. Over time the tumor can cause gradual hearing loss, ringing in the ear, and dizziness. Because of their slow growth, not all acoustic neuromas need to be treated. Treatment options include observation, surgery, and radiation.

ACOUSTIC NEUROMA SURGERY: SUBOCCIPITAL CRANIOTOMY

Acoustic Neuroma Surgery: Suboccipital Craniotomy (.pdf)

A suboccipital craniotomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove an acoustic neuroma growing from the nerve responsible for balance and hearing (vestibulocochlear). During surgery, a section of the skull is removed behind the ear to access the tumor and nerves. The goals of surgery are: first, the maintenance of facial nerve function; second, the preservation of socially useful hearing in the affected ear; and third, tumor removal.

ANEURYSM CLIPPING

Aneurysm clipping (.pdf)

Clipping is a surgical procedure performed to treat a balloon-like bulge or weakening of an artery wall known as an aneurysm. As an aneurysm grows it becomes thinner and weaker. It can become so thin that it leaks or ruptures, releasing blood into the spaces around the brain – called a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). A neurosurgeon places a tiny clip across the neck of the aneurysm to stop or prevent an aneurysm from bleeding.

ANEURYSM COILING

Aneurysm coiling (.pdf)

Coiling is a minimally invasive endovascular procedure performed to treat an aneurysm – a balloon-like bulge or weakening of an artery wall. As an aneurysm grows, it thins and weakens. It can become so thin that it leaks or ruptures, releasing blood into the space around the brain. This bleeding is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and is life threatening. During coiling, tiny coils are packed into the aneurysm to promote blood clotting and close off the aneurysm.

ANEURYSM RUPTURED

Aneurysm ruptured (.pdf)

An aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge or weakening of an artery wall. As an aneurysm enlarges it puts pressure on surrounding structures, causing headache or vision problems, and may eventually rupture. A ruptured aneurysm releases blood into the spaces around the brain, called a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) – a life-threatening type of stroke. Treatment focuses on stopping the bleeding and repairing the aneurysm with surgical clipping, coiling, or bypass.

ANEURYSM UNRUPTURED

Aneurysm unruptured (.pdf)

An aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge or weakening of an artery wall. As an aneurysm enlarges it puts pressure on surrounding structures, causing headache or vision problems, and may eventually rupture. A ruptured aneurysm releases blood into the spaces around the brain, called a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) – a life-threatening type of stroke. Treatment options for aneurysms include observation, surgical clipping, coiling, and bypass.

ARTERIOVENOUS MALFORMATION (AVM)

Arteriovenous malformation (AVM) (.pdf)

An arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels in the brain or spine. Some AVMs have no specific symptoms and little or no risk to a one’s life or health, while others cause severe and devastating effects when they bleed. Treatment options range from conservative watching to aggressive surgery, depending on the type, symptoms, and location of the AVM.

BRAIN TUMORS: AN INTRODUCTION

Brain tumors: an introduction (.pdf)

A tumor is abnormal tissue that grows by uncontrolled cell division. Normal cells grow in a controlled manner as new cells replace old or damaged ones. For reasons not fully understood, tumor cells reproduce uncontrollably. Brain tumors are named after the cell type from which they grow. They may be primary (starting in the brain) or secondary (spreading to the brain from another area). Treatment options vary depending on the tumor type, size and location; whether the tumor has spread; and the age and medical health of the person.

CAROTID STENOSIS

Carotid stenosis (.pdf)

Carotid stenosis is a narrowing of the carotid arteries, the two major arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain. Also called carotid artery disease, carotid stenosis is caused by a buildup of plaque inside the artery wall that reduces blood flow to the brain. The process of plaque buildup is called atherosclerosis.

CEREBRAL BYPASS SURGERY

Cerebral bypass surgery (.pdf)

A cerebral bypass is a surgical procedure performed to restore, or “revascularize,” blood flow to the brain. A cerebral bypass is the brain’s equivalent of a coronary bypass in the heart. The surgery involves connecting a blood vessel from outside the brain to a vessel inside the brain to reroute blood flow around an artery that is narrowed, blocked, or damaged. The main goal of bypass surgery is to restore blood supply to the brain and prevent strokes.

CHIARI I MALFORMATION

Chiari I malformation (.pdf)

Chiari type I is a condition in which the bony space enclosing the lower part of the brain is smaller than normal. Crowding causes the cerebellar tonsils to push through the skull and down into the spinal canal. The herniated tonsils block the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid. Symptoms vary widely, but the most common include severe headache at the back of the skull, neck pain, dizziness, numbness in the hands, and sleep problems. Mild symptoms are treated with monitoring and medication. For severe symptoms, surgery may be needed to remove bone and enlarge the space.

CONCUSSION

Concussion (.pdf)

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a blow or “ding” to the head. Common in falls, sports, and car crashes, concussions can temporarily affect the brain causing confusion, memory, speech, vision, or balance problems. The person may appear fine at first, but may show symptoms hours or days later. If left undiagnosed, a concussion may place a person at risk of developing second impact syndrome-a potentially fatal injury that occurs when an athlete sustains a second head injury before a previous head injury has healed. The best treatment is time to allow the brain to heal.

CRANIOTOMY

Craniotomy (.pdf)

Craniotomy is a cut that opens the cranium. During this surgical procedure, a section of the skull, called a bone flap, is removed to access the brain underneath. The bone flap is usually replaced after the procedure with tiny plates and screws.

CRANIOTOMY

Craniotomy (.pdf)

Craniotomy is a cut that opens the cranium. During this surgical procedure, a section of the skull, called a bone flap, is removed to access the brain underneath. The bone flap is usually replaced after the procedure with tiny plates and screws.

ENDOSCOPIC TRANSSPHENOIDAL SURGERY

Endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery (.pdf)

Transsphenoidal surgery is performed to remove tumors from the pituitary gland, sellar region, and sphenoid sinus of the skull. The surgery is performed through the nose with a microscope or more commonly with an endoscope. Pituitary tumors cause a variety of hormone problems and can grow to large size, compressing important nerves and arteries at the base of the brain. When this occurs, surgery is needed to remove the tumor, especially when vision is at risk. Tumor removal often reverses endocrine problems and restores normal hormone balance.

EPILEPSY

Epilepsy (.pdf)

A seizure (often called a fit, spell, convulsion, or attack) is a visible sign of a problem in the electrical system that controls your brain. A single seizure can have many causes. Those who continue to have unproked seizures may have a chronic disorder called epilepsy. The term “seizure disorder” is often used as another way to describe epilepsy.

EPILEPSY SURGERY

Epilepsy surgery (.pdf)

Epilepsy surgery is performed to treat seizures that are uncontrolled with medication. About 30% of people with epilepsy are not controlled with medication and are considered medically intractable. “Medically intractable seizures” are defined as persistent seizures despite trials of three or more appropriate antiepileptic drugs [1], alone or in combination. People with medically intractable seizures may be candidates for surgical treatment to achieve better seizure control.

GLIOMA BRAIN TUMORS

Glioma Brain Tumors (.pdf)

A glioma is a type of brain tumor that grows from glial cells. Glial cells support nerve cells with energy and nutrients and help maintain the blood-brain barrier. Glioma is an umbrella term used to describe the different types of gliomas: astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, and glioblastoma.

HEMIFACIAL SPASM

Hemifacial spasm (.pdf)

Hemifacial spasm (HFS) is an involuntary twitching or contraction of the facial muscles on one side of the face. Medication, surgery, and Botox injections are treatment options to stop the spasms and relieve the discomfort. Each treatment offers benefits, but each has limitations. You and your doctor should determine which treatment is best.

INTRACEREBRAL HEMORRHAGE ICH

Intracerebral hemorrhage ICH (.pdf)

Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a type of stroke caused by bleeding within the brain tissue itself – a very life-threatening situation. A stroke occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen due to an interruption of its blood supply. ICH is most commonly caused by hypertension, arteriovenous malformations, or head trauma. Treatment focuses on stopping the bleeding, removing the blood clot (hematoma), and relieving the pressure on the brain.

INTRACRANIAL ARTERY STENOSIS

Intracranial artery stenosis (.pdf)

Intracranial stenosis is a narrowing of an artery inside the brain that can lead to stroke. Stenosis is caused by a buildup of plaque inside the artery wall that reduces blood flow to the brain. The process of plaque buildup is called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis that is severe enough to cause symptoms carries a high risk of stroke and can lead to brain damage and death. Treatments aim to reduce the risk of stroke by controlling or removing plaque buildup and by preventing blood clots.

MENINGIOMAS

Meningiomas (.pdf)

A meningioma is a type of tumor that grows from the protective membranes, called meninges, which surround the brain and spinal cord. Most meningiomas are benign (not cancerous) and slow growing; however, some can be malignant. Symptoms typically appear gradually and vary depending on the location and brain area affected. Because these are slow growing tumors, not all meningiomas need to be treated immediately.

METASTATIC BRAIN TUMORS

Metastatic brain tumors (.pdf)

Metastatic brain tumors begin as cancer in another part of the body and spread to the brain via blood or nearby tissue. There can be one (metastasis) or multiple (metastases) tumors.

MICROVASCULAR DECOMPRESSION MVD

Microvascular decompression MVD (.pdf)

Microvascular decompression (MVD) is a surgical procedure that relieves abnormal compression of a cranial nerve. It is performed to treat trigeminal neuralgia, vagoglossopharyngeal neuralgia, and hemifacial spasm. These conditions are often caused by an artery or vein compressing the nerve root as it leaves the brainstem. When compressed, normal nerve impulses can recruit nearby nerve fibers and send faulty messages. Medications often provide relief to patients with these conditions, but when medications become ineffective or cause serious side effects, one treatment option is MVD.

MOYAMOYA DISEASE

Moyamoya disease (.pdf)

Moyamoya disease is a disorder caused by blocked arteries at the base of the brain. The name “moyamoya” means “puff of smoke” in Japanese and describes the appearance of the tangle of tiny vessels that form to compensate for the blockage. As the normal blood vessels narrow and become blocked, a person may suffer a stroke – a life-threatening situation. No medication can stop or reverse the progression of moyamoya disease. Treatment focuses on reducing the risk of stroke and restoring blood flow to the brain.

PARKINSON’S DISEASE (PD)

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) (.pdf)

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive disorder that affects nerve cells deep in the brain responsible for planning and controlling body movement. Dopamine is a chemical used in body movement. When the dopamine-producing nerve cells die, symptoms such as tremor, slowness, stiffness, and balance problems begin to occur. The cause of Parkinson’s is largely unknown and the disease cannot be cured at this time. Treatments focus on reducing symptoms to enable a more active lifestyle.

COPING WITH PARKINSON’S DISEASE

Coping with Parkinson’s Disease (.pdf)

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a degenerative, progressive neurologic disorder that affects the way you move. Treatment focuses on reducing the symptoms to enable a normal, active lifestyle. While medication is necessary, you can do your part to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and staying physically active in order to contribute to your overall health and well-being.

DEEP BRAIN STIMULATION FOR MOVEMENT DISORDERS

Deep Brain Stimulation for Movement Disorders (.pdf)

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical procedure to implant a pacemaker-like device that sends electrical signals to brain areas responsible for body movement. Electrodes are placed deep in the brain and are connected to a stimulator/battery device. Similar to a heart pacemaker, a neurostimulator uses electric pulses to help regulate brain activity. DBS can help reduce the symptoms of tremor, slowness of movement, stiffness, and walking problems caused by movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, or essential tremor.

PERCUTANEOUS STEREOTACTIC RADIOFREQUENCY RHIZOTOMY PSR

Percutaneous stereotactic radiofrequency rhizotomy PSR (.pdf)

Percutaneous stereotactic radiofrequency rhizotomy (PSR) is a minimally invasive procedure performed to relieve pain caused by: trigeminal neuralgia, glossopharyngeal neuralgia and cluster headaches. Medications often provide pain relief to patients with these conditions, but when medications become ineffective in pain control or cause serious side effects, one treatment option is PSR.

PITUITARY TUMORS

Pituitary tumors (.pdf)

Pituitary tumors grow from the pituitary gland, the master gland of the body, located deep in the skull. These tumors can affect the whole body by interfering with normal hormone production. As the tumor grows, it can cause a variety of symptoms including compression of nearby nerves, resulting in vision problems. There are various kinds of pituitary tumors: adenomas, craniopharyngiomas, and Rathke’s cleft cysts. Most are benign (not cancerous) and are often curable. Treatment options aim to remove the tumor or control its growth and restore normal hormone function.

RADIOSURGERY AND RADIOTHERAPY OF THE BRAIN

Radiosurgery and radiotherapy of the brain (.pdf)

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to treat tumors and other diseases. Radiation works by damaging the DNA inside cells and making them unable to divide and reproduce. The benefits of radiation are not immediate but occur over time. Aggressive tumors, whose cells divide rapidly, typically respond more quickly to radiation. Over time, the abnormal cells die and the tumor may shrink. Normal cells can also be damaged by radiation, but they can repair themselves more effectively than abnormal cells. The goal of radiation treatment is to maximize the dose to abnormal cells and minimize the exposure to normal cells.

SEIZURES

Seizures (.pdf)

A seizure (also called a fit, spell, convulsion, or attack) is the visible sign of a problem in the electrical system that controls your brain. A single seizure can have many causes, such as a high fever, lack of oxygen, poisoning, trauma, a tumor, infection, or after brain surgery. Most seizures are controlled with medication. If your seizures occur repeatedly, then you may have the chronic disorder called epilepsy.

SUBARACHNOID HEMORRHAGE

Subarachnoid hemorrhage (.pdf)

Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a serious, life-threatening type of stroke caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain. A stroke occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen because of an interruption of its blood supply. SAH can be caused by a ruptured aneurysm. One-third of patients who suffer an SAH will survive with good recovery; one-third will survive with a disability; and one-third will die. Treatment focuses on stopping the bleeding, restoring normal blood flow, relieving the pressure on the brain, and preventing vasospasm.

STROKE

Stroke (.pdf)

Think of a stroke as a “brain attack” – it is an emergency! Because a stroke can damage brain tissue, every minute counts. When symptoms appear call 911 immediately. A stroke occurs when the brain is deprived of the oxygen it needs due to an interruption of its blood supply. Without oxygen brain cells die. The oxygen deprived area of brain tissue is called an infarct. Depending on what area of the brain has been affected, a stroke can cause problems with speech, behavior, thought patterns and memory, and may result in permanent brain damage, disability or death.

TRIGEMINAL NEURALGIA

Trigeminal neuralgia (.pdf)

Trigeminal neuralgia is an inflammation of the trigeminal nerve causing extreme pain and muscle spasms in the face. Attacks of intense, electric shock-like facial pain can occur without warning or be triggered by touching specific areas of the face. Although the exact cause of trigeminal neuralgia is not fully understood, a blood vessel is often found compressing the nerve. Several treatments can relieve the pain. Each treatment offers benefits, but each has limitations. You and your doctor should determine which treatment is best for you.

Patient Stories

Surgery Scores Homerun

Thanks to The Iowa Clinic Spine Center, assistant baseball coach Demathdian Tate, 35, is throwing balls again at batting practice. Coach Demathdian Tate first noticed the pain in his lower back last July. It was becoming difficult to do the things he usually does— like throw balls at AIB College’s batting practices. The pain worsened and his muscles weakened. “After an MRI last year, I was told I had a pinched nerve in my lower spine. I went to physical therapy and a chiropractor, but nothing seemed to help,” he says. Determined to find…
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Methodist Medical Center – Plaza II

(515) 241-5760
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1215 Pleasant Street, Suite 608
Des Moines, IA 50309

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