Neurosurgery

NeurosurgeryIf you or a loved one faces a condition that requires neurosurgery, UMass Memorial Medical Center is here to help. We offer highly specialized services and comprehensive care for both adults and children, right here at UMass Memorial Medical Center. 

Neurosurgery at UMass Memorial Medical Center

We treat a full range of illnesses and conditions, from tumors to movement disorders, such as: 

  • Stroke or "brain attacks" including intracranial aneurysms, vascular malformationa, and intracerebral and intracerebellar hemorrhages
  • Brain tumors, including primary and metastatic tumors in both adults and children
  • Carotid disease 
  • Disorders of the spine, including disc disease, degenerative disease, spinal instability, primary and metastatic spinal tumors, vascular disorders of the spinal cord and spinal infection  (some spine disorders are treated at the Spine Center)
  • Epilepsy, including intractable epilepsy, in both adults and childhood 
  • Movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease and spasticity
  • Pain, including benign or malignant severe and intractable pain
  • Pituitary diseases, pituitary tumors and pituitary apoplexy
  • Head and spine trauma, late surgical sequelae, and spine decompression and stabilization

Our highly skilled neurosurgeons are pioneers in the most complex procedures, including:

  • Minimally invasive neurosurgery, including MIS spinal surgery.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery
  • Brachytherapy radiation treatment
  • Endarterectomy for carotid disease
  • XLIF (eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion) spinal fusion surgery

Adult Hydrocephalus Clinic at UMass Memorial

Often called "swelling of the brain," normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is a build up of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. The fluid causes the ventricles (spaces) in the brain to swell, which puts pressure on the brain itself. NPH can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are so similar to Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease (or even just the natural course of aging). These include:

  • cognitive impairment, such as confusion or forgetfulness
  • incontinence (problems holding urine)
  • balance problems
  • gait problems like shuffling

These symptoms can affect patients' quality of life and leave them dependent on others for daily care. But with proper diagnosis and treatment, many patients with NPH see dramatic improvements in their symptoms and quality of life. In fact, NPH is virtually the only reversible form of dementia.

Because a clinical exam alone is not enough to diagnose NPH or determine the best treatment option, the experts at the UMass Memorial Adult Hydrocephalus Clinic use sophisticated diagnostic techniques, including:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI, or brain scans)
  • Neurocognitive testing
  • Gait and balance analysis
  • Lumbar puncture (a spinal tap to drain fluid)
  • Monitoring of pressure within the brain through electrodes

Once a patient is diagnosed with NPH, the common treatment is surgery to place a shunt, a small device that drains the fluid, in the patient's skull.  Some shunts can be programmed to automatically adjust to fluid volume. We also offer "neuro-endocopy," a minimally invasive way of working inside the skull with surgical instruments inserted through tiny incisions.  

We also treat a full range of adult hydrocephalus conditions, including complex hydrocephalus and pseudotumor cerebri (or idiopathic intracranial hypertension), which causes chronic headache, vision changes and possibly blindness.  

Our team includes experts from several specialties who work together to accurately diagnose and treat patients with NPH:

  • Neurosurgery
  • Neurology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Neuroradiology
  • Psychiatry
  • Geriatrics
  • Ophthalmology

If you suspect a NPH or another form of adult hydrocephalus in an elderly loved one, please call us at 508-856-3322. Appointments can be scheduled quickly.