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Neurosurgical Treatment

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health's expert team at the Center for Neurosciences & Spine diagnoses and treats neurological disorders using neurosurgery. Our surgical expertise includes traditional, open procedures (craniotomies) and minimally invasive endovascular procedures. In addition, we offer advanced technologies to treat brain tumors and other neurological conditions:

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery is a proven technology that gives doctors the option of using a highly focused form of pinpoint cobalt radiation to treat many disorders of the brain without ever making an incision or negatively affecting healthy brain tissue. Stereotactic radiosurgery requires a highly skilled, multispecialty team to conduct the one-session treatment, including a neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist, medical physicist and registered nurse.

    This leading-edge technology is considered the gold standard of care for noninvasive treatment of many brain tumors (some previously considered inoperable), vascular malformations, neurological disorders and other conditions, such as incredibly painful trigeminal neuralgia. The device we use at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health focuses 192 tiny beams of radiation on one computer-mapped focal point (target) in the brain and is accurate within one-half the width of a human hair. The treatment is typically a single four-hour session. Patients do not lose their hair and generally return to normal activities within 48 hours. Since there are no incisions or general anesthetic, patients have almost no pain or side effects.

    People throughout the region who come to our specially designed facility can expect state-of-the-art technology as well as an unparalleled multidisciplinary team of neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, radiation physicists and support staff—all of whom are at the very top of their professions.

    Conditions commonly treated with stereotactic radiosurgery include:

    • Metastatic tumors within the head originating from a primary site elsewhere in the body
    • Malignant or benign tumors originating within the brain or its coverings, including gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary and pineal tumors, acoustic neuromas, and others
    • Arterial venous malformations (AVMs) and other vascular disorders of the brain
    • Trigeminal neuralgia (if conservative therapy fails)
    • Movement disorders, such as some cases of essential tremor in patients who are not candidates for deep brain stimulation 
  • At Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, we offer hope for people who have movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and dystonia. A surgical procedure known as deep brain stimulation can help relieve your symptoms.

    How deep brain stimulation works

    Deep brain stimulation is a surgical treatment that uses a device called a neurostimulator to deliver electrical signals to the brain. For people with movement disorders, we treat the areas of the brain that control movement, pain and mood.

    Deep brain stimulation, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, provides long-term management for symptoms, including:

    • Difficulty walking
    • Rigidity and stiffness
    • Slow or difficult movement
    • Tremors

    We have seen excellent outcomes for patients with conditions such as:

    • Ataxias
    • Conditions involving uncontrolled or slow movement such as chorea and dystonia
    • Essential tremor
    • Parkinson’s disease  

    Innovative treatment for movement disorders

    St. Joseph Medical Center is the South Sound region’s only source for this innovative technology. Our team of experts in deep brain stimulation, including a neurosurgeon, neurologist, advanced practice nurse and registered nurse, has special training in this technique.

    Through our holistic approach, we also offer treatment as needed with neuropsychologists and rehabilitation services with physical, occupational and speech therapists. As you progress through your treatment, your entire care team stays in close communication with you to make sure we’re providing care that is specific to your needs.