Laredo Physicians Group offers neurosurgery to address serious health issues affecting the brain, spine and nervous system.
We can provide a variety of surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients who have neurological or spinal conditions. To relieve pain and increase functionality, neurosurgeons at Laredo Physicians Group evaluate patients’ conditions and recommend treatment that may involve conservative measures such as rehabilitation, exercise or other therapeutic methods, or surgical treatment if deemed necessary.
Conditions We Treat
Chronic Low Back Pain
Low back pain impacts nearly 80 percent of adults at least once during their lifetime, according to the National Institutes of Health. Most low back pain is short-term, lasting between four and 12 weeks. However, chronic back pain can last more than 12 weeks. Pain in the low back can include pain that goes into the buttocks, hips or legs (commonly referred to as sciatica).
Although low back pain is a common occurrence, some features warrant evaluation from a medical professional, such as persistent or worsening back pain, and neurologic symptoms, including numbness, weakness, or tingling, or changes in bowel or bladder function. Common causes of low back pain include degenerative disc disease, herniated disc, lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), spondylolisthesis (where one spinal bone, or vertebra, slips forward over the vertebra below it), scoliosis, and traumatic injuries including spinal fractures.
Chronic Neck Pain
Neck pain starts in the neck and can be associated with radiating pain down one or both arms. Similar to low back pain, neck pain may be caused by arthritis, disc degeneration, narrowing of the spinal canal, muscle inflammation, strain or trauma.
Bulging discs or bone spurs may cause narrowing of the spinal canal, putting pressure on spinal cord or the nerves. Pressure on the spinal cord can be a serious problem, because virtually all the nerves to the rest of the body have to pass through the neck to reach their final destination (arms, chest, abdomen, legs). In addition to neck and arm pain, pressure on a nerve root or the spinal cord may result in numbness or weakness in the arm or forearm, tingling in the fingers or hand, and difficulty with balance and walking.
Spinal tumors may be cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign). The treatment of benign tumors depends on symptoms, such as pain or lack of mobility, and may be treated with a watch-and-wait approach, medication, radiation or surgery. Malignant tumors can be treated with radiation and chemotherapy. Surgery is often used in addition to these treatments to relieve pain, stabilize the spine and improve quality of life.
A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain that can originate in the brain or travel to the brain from another part of the body (as seen is some cancer patients). Like spinal tumors, brain tumors fall into two categories: benign or malignant. Benign tumors, such as meningiomas and schwannomas, usually do not recur once they are removed and do not invade surrounding tissue. However, they cause symptoms because of their size and location in the brain. Malignant brain tumors contain cancer cells. They are usually fast-growing and invade tissue, but they rarely spread to other areas of the body. Malignant tumors can recur after treatment, so treatment usually involves various combinations of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Trigeminal neuralgia, or tic douloureux, causes excruciating pain typically in the lower face and jaw, although sometimes it affects the area around the nose and above the eye. This intense pain is caused by irritation of the trigeminal nerve, which sends branches to the forehead, cheek and lower jaw. The pain can be triggered by minor movements such as brushing your teeth, eating, or the wind blowing. If left untreated, trigeminal neuralgia can progressively worsen. Normally, anticonvulsive medications are the first treatment choice. Surgery can be an effective option for those who become unresponsive to medications or for those who suffer serious side effects from the medications.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
The skull protects the brain from most minor bangs and bumps, but severe head injuries can occur from falls, motor vehicle accidents and contact sports. When this happens, the brain moves inside the skull causing bleeding, tearing of tissues and swelling. In the elderly, even minor head trauma can cause tearing of blood vessels over the brain surface, resulting in a slow accumulation of liquefied clot over several days to weeks. Head injuries can cause skull fractures, hematomas (both acute and chronic), and traumatic brain injury that causes moderate to severe damage to the brain.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that carries signals between the brain and the body. When a spinal cord injury occurs, the signals are disrupted. This usually happens from a sudden blow to the spine that often fractures or dislocates vertebrae. Spinal cord injuries are classified as either complete or incomplete. With a complete injury, there is no motor function below the injury. With an incomplete injury, there is still some movement and sensation below the injury.
Other Services Provided:
- Minimally invasive spine surgery
- Artificial disc replacement
- Spinal fusion surgery
- Complex and revision spinal surgery
- Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty
- Spinal cord stimulator placement
- Brain and spinal tumor surgery
- Microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia and hemifacial spasm
- Chiari decompression
- Brain shunting procedures
*Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if minimally invasive surgery is right for you.