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Physician Education: Neurology-Neurosurgery

Exploring High Definition Fiber Tracking

High definition fiber tracking is an innovative technique that allows UPMC neurosurgeons to see a level of detail in the brain that until recently was unprecedented. High definition fiber tracking shows neurosurgeons exactly where the fibers are, thus enabling them to identify the optimal surgical path, make surgical decisions with greater confidence and help ensure an optimal patient outcome. 

The Unruptured Aneurysm - Treatment Decisions

Unruptured aneurysms are usually found by chance and are completely asymptomatic. With the likelihood of rupture ranging from .1 to 3 percent each year, the question becomes: what is the risk of doing nothing versus the risk of surgery? Neurosurgeons must consider a variety of factors and, after weighing the options and having meaningful discussion on the likelihood of rupture, decide along with the patient how to proceed. Dr. Robert Friedlander, Chairman, UPMC Department of Neurological Surgery, explains the factors that should be considered when counseling a patient diagnosed with an unruptured aneurysm.

Minimally Invasive Scoliosis Surgery

UPMC neurosurgeons, Adam Kanter, MD and David Okonkwo, MD, are among a small group of surgeons in the country to adopt a new approach to spinal surgery for patients diagnosed with complex scoliosis. This new, minimally invasive procedure known as an XLIF, accesses the spine from the side of the body instead of the front or back. Patients may experience less postoperative pain, a shorter recovery time and lower likelihood of long-term complications. The XLIF procedure is also effective in treating a variety of other spinal pathologies including spondylolisthesis, vertebral body injuries, degenerative disc disease, trauma and tumors.

Using Telemedicine to Evaluate Patients In Need Of Acute Stroke Care

Telemedicine enables patients in outlying hospitals to be evaluated quickly by stroke experts at UPMC to determine if they are candidates for IV TPA administration. TPA is often effective in treating stroke if administered within the first 3-4 and a half hours of stroke onset. This partnership gives patients in outlying hospitals access to stroke experts with the press of a button, 24/7, 365 days a year. Think of it as a virtual consult.

Perspectives of a Neurologist and Neurosurgeon: When Epilepsy Surgery Should Be Considered

On average, patients are referred to surgery 18 years after onset on seizures. Neurologists and neurosurgeons at UPMC agree that epilepsy surgery is a viable option and should be recommended earlier to those who are deemed medically intractable.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery: An Effective Strategy to Treat Brain Metastases

L. Dade Lunsford, MD, co-director of the Center for Image Guided Neurosurgery at UPMC offers a retrospective on the Gamma Knife and discusses why it has caused a shift in the paradigm of how neurosurgeons and oncologists care for patients with brain metastases.

Multidisciplinary Concussion Care

For years, it was believed that a small amount of rest was all that was needed to treat a concussion, but physicians are now aware this is not the case. Concussion specialists at UPMC discuss how concussions need to be treated from a variety of perspectives. This is most effective when done in a multidisciplinary setting. Concussion care at UPMC offers patients individualized treatment and access to a variety of medical specialties under one roof, helping them to meet their maximum potential as quickly as possible.

Using Telemedicine to Advance Diabetic Care in Underserved Areas

The University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute and UPMC is using telemedicine to help bring endocrinologists to patients in underserved areas. This effort also supports primary care physicians and nurse educators who often care for patients in rural areas.