Brain and Spinal Cord Injury

Brain Injury

For the 1.5 million Americans who sustain a brain injury, recovery involves a multi-disciplinary care team that includes a neurosurgeon, neurologist, intensive care, radiology, rehabilitation and other specialists as required.

There are two primary types of brain injury.

  • Traumatic brain injury is the result of a direct blow to the head often caused by slips and falls, violence or sports-related accidents.
  • Acquired brain injuries result from lack of oxygen to the brain or injuries to other parts of the body such as choking, stroke, aneurysm, electrical shock, near drowning or trauma to the neck or chest.

Treatment

Because brain injury patients often have many critical medical needs, treatment is provided by a team of professionals, often led by the trauma surgeon. Our neurosurgery specialists focus on correcting brain damage or preventing secondary injury by maintaining blood flow and oxygen to the brain and minimizing swelling and pressure. Depending on the injury type, severity and location, open or endovascular neurosurgery will be performed.

View our extensive animation library to learn more about what we treat and the procedures we perform.

Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries are caused when delicate spinal cord tissue is bruised, torn or crushed. Spinal cord injuries can be caused by accidents, but can also be caused by diseases or disorders.

The severity of a spinal cord injury (SCI) depends on the part of the spinal cord that is affected. The higher the SCI on the vertebral column, or the closer it is to the brain, the more effect it has on how the body moves and what one can feel. More movement, feeling and voluntary control are generally present with injuries at lower levels.

Treatment

Patients require a comprehensive clinical evaluation and treatment plan that is customized based on the specific injury.

  • A spinal cord injury evaluation typically begins with immobilizing the spine and conducting a radiological evaluation including X-ray, CT scan, or MRI.
  • Often, SCI patients are admitted to the intensive care unit and given steroid therapy.
  • Our neurosurgeons are part of the care team and get involved when the spinal cord appears to be compressed by a herniated disc, blood clot or other lesion. Even if surgery cannot reverse damage to the spinal cord, surgery may be needed to stabilize the spine to prevent future pain or deformity.
  • Rehabilitation often includes physical therapy or occupational therapy. Following hospitalization, some patients are admitted to a rehabilitation facility. Other patients can continue rehab on an outpatient basis at home.

View our extensive animation library to learn more about what we treat and the procedures we perform.