At MedStar Harbor Hospital, our neurosurgery specialists use innovative, minimally invasive technology to treat everything from chronic neck and back pain to some of the most complex diseases of the central nervous system, including stroke, aneurysms, and brain tumors.
Blood vessel malformations
- Diseases of the central nervous system
Fractures and nerve compression
- Traumatic head injuries
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
The surgeons at MedStar Health have extensive training and experience in performing microscopic and minimally invasive spinal surgeries.
During minimally invasive techniques, MedStar Health surgeons make a small incision and use advanced computer technology and specialized instruments to repair back and spine conditions. In microscopic surgery, we combine minimally invasive techniques with highly sensitive, cutting-edge surgical microscopes to access even the most delicate areas with precision.
Minimally invasive techniques offer patients:
- Faster recovery time than traditional spinal surgery
- Reduced infection
- Reduced blood loss
- Less scarring
- Faster return to your regular lifestyle
Nerve decompression surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to relieve pressure caused by a neuroma, a pinched or entrapped nerve. Your surgeon relieves the pressure on the nerve by cutting tight tunnels around it. This way, even though the nerve is still swollen, there is no pressure on it from surrounding structures in your body, enabling the nerve to start functioning normally again.
Patients suffering symptoms (numbness, pain, and/or functional loss) from such conditions, who have not found relief through other, more conservative methods, may consider nerve decompression surgery. The specialists at MedStar Health can address the following with this treatment:
- Upper extremities: Surgery for carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel, or decompression of radial nerve
- Lower extremities: Surgery for femoral nerve, peroneal (foot drop) nerve, tarsal tunnel release
- Trunk: Thigh pain, burning or numbness (called meralgia paresthetica), release of lateral femoral cutaneous nerve
- Chronic migraine headaches: Decompression of nerves in the back, side and/or front of the head.
- Diabetic neuropathy
Surgery can relieve symptoms and halt further damage; however, it does not change the underlying problems. A person whose job requires repetitive wrist movements is still susceptible to nerve dysfunction. People with diabetes will continue to have swollen nerves that are more prone to compression and damage.
Most patients have repeat neurosensory testing six to twelve weeks after surgery. This determines if the nerves are repairing themselves and if function is improving. Most patients, especially those with diabetes, should undergo neurosensory testing each year to detect possible new nerve damage and measure the progress of existing nerve damage.
Nerve Reconstruction Surgery
In order to preserve function when nerves are damaged, surgeons use microsurgical suturing techniques. However, surgeons are often not able to reconnect the nerve fibers because of the amount of damage at the injury site. Instead, our surgeons use a combination of the following to repair the nerves:
- Nerve conduits (tubes to bridge small nerve defects)
- Nerve allografts (processed human nerve to bridge small-large nerve gaps)
- Nerve allografts (used from the patient him/herself from other, less critical nerves)
Some examples of the types of injuries that are candidates for this treatment include:
- Hand/finger injuries with sharp objects (usually knife) resulting in scar, pain, and/or numbness
- Traumatic or surgical injuries or any major upper or lower extremity nerve injury resulting in acute or delayed loss of the nerve function
- Nerve deficit following nerve tumor removal
- Patient with peroneal nerve neuropathy
Repairs such as these should ideally be done immediately (same day). If that is not possible, every attempt should be made to perform nerve repair within three to four weeks. After that period, it's possible there will be irreversible loss of nerve function. Once the nerve is reconstructed, it recovers at a rate of approximately one half millimeter to one millimeter per day.
To find a neurosurgeon at MedStar Harbor Hospital, please call
MedStar Harbor Hospital
Outpatient Center, Suite 200
3001 South Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225