Clinic: (318) 795-2638 | Academic Office: (318) 675-6404

Specialties & Services

Complete List of All

NEUROLOGICAL SERVICES

The physicians at University Neurosurgery specialize in treating a wide variety of neurological disorders from a number of different approaches.

Neurosurgical problems in the pediatric age group are often difficult and complex. Our Pediatric Neurosurgery service offers comprehensive care and a multi-disciplinary approach for the full range of brain, spine, peripheral nerve, and craniofacial disorders in children and adolescents. Common conditions treated by our neurosurgeons are brain tumors, cerebral palsy, Chiari malformations, congenital malformations of the brain and spine, hydrocephalus, and traumatic brain and spinal injuries.

  • We use minimally-invasive techniques whenever possible.
  • A multi-disciplinary team of pediatric experts develop a comprehensive treatment plan for your child.
  • Compassionate care is one of our top priorities at University Neurosurgery, and we offer a personalized, family-centered approach to treatment.
  • Our nurse practitioners and nursing staff are highly skilled and specially trained to care for pediatric neurosurgery patients.
  • We work closely with your child’s pediatrician to ensure the continuity of care at home.
  • With the only pediatric neurosurgeon in the northwestern part of Louisiana on staff, we are capable of providing the highest level of expertise in treating critically injured children.
  • University Neurosurgery’s Pediatric Concussion Clinic team uses a computerized cognitive assessment aid for pediatric concussions to identify possible impairment and compare to normative data to further assist the clinician in making a decision regarding a need for a more comprehensive evaluation and to return-to activity.
  • Christina Notarianni, MD, FAANS
  • Brian Willis, MD, FAANS, FACS
Dr with baby
Spine surgery

Our spinal neurosurgeons strive to provide state-of–the-art management and an individualized treatment strategy for every patient incorporating a multidisciplinary approach that includes orthopedic surgeons, physical medicine and rehabilitation, pain management, physical therapy and neurologists. Common conditions treated by our neurosurgeons are degenerative lumbar and cervical disc disease, herniated discs, spinal fractures, scoliosis, spinal tumors, spinal stenosis, and spinal trauma.

  • Our multidisciplinary team is staffed by tenured neurosurgeons, one spine fellowship-trained spinal surgeon, and a highly skilled nursing staff.
  • Our experienced spine experts provide state-of-the-art, comprehensive, patient-centered services to individuals affected by spinal disorders that may require surgical intervention.
  • We offer minimally-invasive endoscopic or laparoscopic techniques whenever possible that are not only effective but also have faster recovery times to allow patients to return to their busy lives.
  • A multi-disciplinary team of specialists from the departments of neurosurgery, neurology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, pain management, and orthopedic develop a comprehensive treatment plan for each patient.
  • Each therapy is custom-tailored to suit the individual patient’s specific condition.
  •  Anthony Sin, MD, FAANS
  • Donald Smith, MD, FAANS

While most patients’ seizures can be adequately controlled with anti-epileptic medication, around 30% are resistant to such therapy and may benefit from surgical removal of the epileptic focus within the brain. Our Epilepsy Surgery Program is part of a collaborative partnership between our neurosurgeons and neurological colleagues, working together to provide hope to adults and children with epilepsy.

  • Our neurosurgery team will determine if your typical spells are truly epileptic seizures and if they are the right types of seizures for surgery.
  • The electroencephalograms (EEGs) of patient candidates are recorded and analyzed to help classify the type and the locations of any observed seizures.
  • We offer the advantage of being affiliated with a large and comprehensive academic center, bringing together experts across medical disciplines that garner respected reputations for excellence in patient care, treatment and research.
  • Our neurosurgical team has extensive experience performing and interpreting SPECT imaging; PET imaging; MRIs; EEGs; inpatient language, memory and behavioral testing during seizures; electocoticography; and MEG.  
  • Hai Sun, MD, PhD
Epilepsy pic
Endovascular & neurovascular pic

The program is one of a select few which offer both open surgical and endovascular treatment. Surgeons in the program have been nationally recognized for their expertise in endovascular and open surgical approaches to neurovascular disease, most recently receiving the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Silver Quality Achievement Award.

Our neurovascular neurosurgeons manage all aspects of stroke and cerebrovascular disorders as well as the coordination of subsequent therapeutic strategies including surgery, interventional neuroradiology, stereotactic radiosurgery and rehabilitation.

  • Our neurosurgeons evaluate and treat patients with vascular diseases of the brain, neck, and spinal cord.
  • The program also provides state-of-the-art treatment to patients with cerebrovascular occlusive diseases including carotid stenosis, vertebrobasilar insufficiency, and other forms of cerebral vascular insufficiency.
  • Our Stroke Clinic is prepared to handle any stroke-related emergency 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • When needed, patients are also evaluated by our multi-disciplinary team of physicians which includes colleagues from interventional radiology, cardiology and neurology.
  • Hugo Cuellar, MD, PhD
  • Hai Sun, MD, PhD

The removal of tumors and the treatment of vascular lesions that occur at the base of the skull can be some of the most technically challenging surgeries performed by neurosurgery services. We offer the most advanced techniques and technologies in surgical approaches such as cranial nerve monitoring, endoscopic visualization, intraoperative imaging and navigation, neuroendovascular techniques, as well as intraoperative and stereotactic radiation that dramatically improve patient outcomes and quality of life.

Skull base disorders can impact many body functions in addition to the nervous system. Depending upon the structures involved, we will obtain full preoperative evaluations by Ophthalmology, Endocrinology, Audiology and Neurology. We are also supported by comprehensive interdisciplinary efforts in Neuro-Oncology, Oncology, Radiation-Oncology, Radiology, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Services, as well as Advanced Neuroscience Nursing during surgery and in our Neuro Intensive Care Unit.

  • Skull base surgery may be done to remove both noncancerous and cancerous growths, and abnormalities on the underside of the brain, the skull base, or the top few vertebrae of the spinal column.
  • When possible, we perform a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure in which instruments are inserted through the natural openings in the skull—the nose or mouth—or by making a small hole just above the eyebrow. This procedure eliminates the need to move critical structures to reach the tumor.
  • We also offer stereotactic radiosurgery that employs fine beams of radiation that converge on a target. The end result is that the tumor receives a high dose of lethal radiation while the surrounding brain and nerves are spared. Radiosurgery can be highly effective in controlling the growth of many tumors and is particularly useful for inaccessible tumors or in cases where surgical removal would cause too much neurological dysfunction.
  • When tumors of the anterior skull base are too large or exceed our ability to completely address them endonasally, we offer the full range of transbasal, transorbital and zygomatic open skull base approaches. These techniques have been refined over the decades to maximize surgical exposure while minimizing brain injury.
  • Tumors at the side of the skull base pose a significant challenge, often compressing critical cranial nerves or even the brain stem, and significant disability can result. In these cases, we collaborate with our colleagues in otolaryngology to reach the most optimal results and limit and/or avoid any disabling side effects.
  • Providing this level of high expertise in skull base surgery requires strong collaboration with neurosurgery, ENT surgeons, neurologists, neuroradiologists, endocrinologists and ophthalmologists. We bring that expertise to all of our patients.
  • Bharat Guthikonda, MD, FAANS
  • Hai Sun, MD, PhD
Skull Base Neurosurgery

Each year more than 1.5 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury. Of those cases, 80,000 to 90,000 patients are left with long-term disability, including paralysis, vision loss, hearing impairment, memory deficits and cognitive behavioral changes. In severely injured patients, death, coma, or a persistent vegetative state may result. Rapid neurologic care at a level 1 Trauma Center may make the difference between permanent impairment and a good recovery.

Our neurosurgeons offer the highest level of care for those patients with traumatic neurologic injuries. We are specifically trained and equipped to diagnose and treat all types of neurotrauma. Our neurosurgeons see patients at all of our affiliated sites with the majority of cases coming from the Ochsner LSU Health Academic Medical Center Emergency Room and Hospital, the only Level 1 Trauma Unit in the area.

  • All patients who suffer a traumatic head injury and who experience a loss of consciousness or neurological changes will undergo an extensive workup that will likely include a computed tomography (CT) scan of the head. We specifically look for evidence of fractures in the skull or bleeding around or within the brain.
  • We perform detailed neurological examinations, which may include a scoring system called the Glasgow Coma Scale. This scale helps us assess the severity of a brain injury by checking your ability to follow directions, blink your eyes, and move your arms and legs.
  • We work collaboratively with our colleagues in cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery, interventional neuroradiology, diagnostic neuroradiology, vascular neurology, neurological critical care, stereotactic radiosurgery, and neurological rehabilitation.
  • Hugo Cuellar, MD, PhD
  • Bharat Guthikonda, MD, FAANS
  • Christina Notarianni, MD, FAANS
  • Anthony Sin, MD, FAANS
  • Donald Smith, MD, FAANS
  • Hai Sun, MD, PhD
  • Brian Willis, MD, FAANS, FACS

Aneurysm

An aneurysm occurs when an artery’s wall weakens and causes an abnormally large bulge. These weak spots can balloon out and fill with blood, creating the outpouchings of blood vessels known as aneurysms. Aneurysms have a variety of causes including high blood pressure and atherosclerosis, trauma, heredity, and abnormal blood flow at the junction where arteries come together. A ruptured aneurysm can result in internal bleeding, stroke, and can sometimes be fatal. Aneurysms often have no symptoms until they rupture. Symptoms include headaches, increased heart rate, pain and dizziness. Two common treatment options for a ruptured brain aneurysm is surgical clipping and endovascular coiling.

Brain Tumor

A brain tumor is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in your brain. Some brain tumors grow slowly and may become quite large before causing symptoms. Others may grow quickly and cause a sudden onset of symptoms. People with a brain tumor may experience headaches, seizures, personality or memory changes, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, drowsiness, and problems with sleep. Symptoms are typically caused by the pressure of the tumor on the brain or spinal cord. Brain tumor treatment options depend on the type of brain tumor you have, as well as its size and location.

Congenital Brain and Spine Malformations

Craniofacial syndromes happen when the soft plates of a baby’s skull close too soon or in an unusual way. Normal brain function can be impaired even if only the skull’s growth is upset. Congenital abnormalities, called malformations, are conditions affecting the form and function of the nervous system. There are numerous variations of congenital malformations of the bone and soft tissue of the head and spine, including neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, encephaloceles, Chiari malformations and arachnoid cysts. In severe cases, surgery by a pediatric neurosurgeon is often recommended.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Though not technically a disease, this is a condition in which a damaged disc causes pain. Degenerative disc disease refers to symptoms of back or neck pain caused by wear-and-tear on a spinal disc. In some cases, degenerative disc disease also causes weakness, numbness, and hot, shooting pains in the arms or legs (radicular pain). The most common cause of degenerative disc disease is age. Surgery to address degenerative disc disease is usually only recommended if pain is severe and non-surgical treatments, such as pain medications and physical therapy, are ineffective.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a central nervous system (neurological) disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness. Epilepsy is defined by two or more recurrent unprovoked seizures (chronic) stemming from an underlying neurological condition. The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury or a family tendency, but often the cause is completely unknown. Many people with epilepsy have more than one type of seizure and may have other symptoms of neurological problems. In most cases, epilepsy can be controlled with medication, but not cured. Epilepsy surgery may be considered in difficult cases. Epilepsy surgery works best for people who have seizures that always originate in the same place in their brains.

Gamma Knife

As part of a continuing dedication to further the quality of patient care, University Neurosurgery at LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport is proud to offer Gamma Knife radiosurgery for the treatment of patients with select neurological conditions. Since becoming the first in the state of Louisiana to acquire Gamma Knife technology, University Neurosurgery has completed over 800 procedures, becoming a leader in stereotactic radiosurgery in the South. This site is designed to provide information concerning Gamma Knife radiosurgery at LSUHSC-S. Please choose an option from the navigation bar in order to learn about Gamma Knife technology, the process, major indications, and the benefits of Gamma Knife radiosurgery.

Herniated Disc

Between each of the bones in your spine (the vertebrae) is a disc. As a disc degenerates, the soft inner gel in the disc can leak back into the spinal canal. This is known as a herniated disc. Once inside the spinal canal, the herniated disc material then puts pressure on the nerve, causing pain to radiate down the nerve leading to sciatica or leg pain (from a lumbar herniated disc) or arm pain (from a cervical herniated disc). You can have a herniated disk anywhere along your spine, even in your neck, but it’s most likely to occur in the lower back (lumbar vertebrae). The initial treatment for a herniated disc is usually conservative and nonsurgical and may involve medications, physical therapy, and/or bed rest. If conservative treatment options do not reduce or eliminate the pain, surgery may be recommended.

Hydrocephalus

Dilation of the fluid filled chambers of the brain (cerebral ventricles). The cause is usually an obstruction of the normal spinal fluid passage from one fluid chamber to another. Hydrocephalus can occur at birth or develop later on in life from obstructions related to hemorrhage in the brain, meningitis, brain tumors or other causes. Treatment can consist of diverting the spinal fluid into the abdomen or chest with a shunt, or opening up the diversion within the brain (third ventriculostomy). There are other specific procedures that can be used in individual patients. Medication therapy is sometimes used.

Intracranial Hemorrhage

An intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) is acute bleeding inside your skull or brain. Hemorrhages that occur within the skull or brain generally happen suddenly, from either external or internal causes including head trauma, high blood pressure, smoking, and artery blockage in the brain. A hemorrhage can rapidly cause brain damage and can be life-threatening. Symptoms include sudden tingling, weakness, numbness, paralysis, severe headache, difficulty with swallowing or vision, loss of balance or coordination, difficulty understanding, speaking , reading, or writing, and a change in level of consciousness or alertness, marked by stupor, lethargy, sleepiness, or coma. Prompt medical treatment can minimize damage to the brain, thereby improving the patient's chance of recovery. Surgery may be necessary to relieve the pressure on the skull by drilling a small hole in the skull releases blood or drilling a larger hole or removing a piece of the skull may be necessary to remove a blood clot. Other treatments may include anti-anxiety medication, anti-epileptic medication, and anti-coagulants.

Meningioma

Meningioma is the most common primary brain tumor. These tumors develop from cells in the meninges, the protective layer of tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Most are benign and grow very slowly, often over many years without causing symptoms. Some, though, are malignant and aggressive. In some instances, whether benign or malignant, their effects on adjacent brain tissue, nerves or vessels may cause serious disability. Symptoms may include blurriness in vision or double vision, headaches that worsen over time, hearing loss or ringing in the ears, memory loss, loss of smell, seizures, and weakness in the arms or legs. Radiosurgery and surgery are the most common initial treatments.

Pituitary Tumors

A pituitary tumor is an abnormal growth in the pituitary gland which is a gland that makes hormones that affect other glands and many functions in the body. Although most pituitary tumors are benign, they are responsible for a majority of hormone abnormalities involving the pituitary glands. Most pituitary tumors don’t cause symptoms. As a result, they are not diagnosed. Or they are found only during a routine brain imaging test. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, or medication.

Scoliosis

When viewed from behind, the spine normally appears straight. However, a spine affected by scoliosis is curved — often appearing like an S or C. Scoliosis is determined when the curvature of the spine measures 10 degrees or greater on an X-ray. In more than 80 percent of cases, the cause of scoliosis is unknown — a condition called idiopathic scoliosis. In other cases, scoliosis may develop as a result of neuromuscular conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida and muscular dystrophy or degeneration of the spinal discs, as seen with arthritis, osteoporosis and hereditary conditions that tend to run in families. Scoliosis develops gradually, typically between the ages of 10 and 16, and may progress during your child’s growth spurt years. Although it is usually painless and easy to miss, scoliosis can become apparent during a routine physical exam. Common symptoms are uneven shoulders or waistline, one or both shoulder blades protruding out, leaning slightly to one side, and/or a hump on one side of the back. Treatments depend on age, bone maturity, and the degree and pattern of the curvature of the spine. Treatment options include bracing that is used to halt the worsening during growth and surgery that is more common if the curve is more than 45 degrees. Surgery is the only permanent solution.

Spinal Trauma

When an external force is applied to the spine, such as from a fall, the forces may exceed the ability of the bone within the vertebral column to support the load. This may cause the front part of the vertebral body to crush, resulting in a compression fracture. If the entire vertebral column breaks, it results in a burst fracture. Depending on the location of the fracture, the damaged structures can injure the spinal cord or spinal nerves that lead to pain in the arms or legs, or affect the bowel, bladder or sexual organs. An acute spinal cord injury (SCI) due to a traumatic spinal injury can either result in a bruise (also called a contusion), a partial tear, or a complete tear (called a transection) in the spinal cord which can lead to decreased or absence of movement, sensation, and body organ function below the level of the injury. Depending on the level of severity of the spinal trauma, treatments can include more conservative options such as immobilization in a brace or corset or, in more severe cases, surgery.

Stroke

Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with about 6.5 million stroke survivors alive today. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Disruption in blood flow is caused when either a blood clot blocks one of the vital blood vessels in the brain (ischemic stroke), or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into surrounding tissues (hemorrhagic stroke). Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. The effects of stroke can be permanent depending primarily on where it occurs in the brain, and how long it takes to be treated. Symptoms of a stroke include weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg, usually on one side of the body; difficulty speaking or understanding; dimness or loss of vision in one or both eyes; problems with movement or walking; fainting or seizure; and headaches. Immediate treatment of a stroke may limit brain damage. Emergency treatment for stroke depends on whether you're having an ischemic stroke blocking an artery — the most common kind — or a hemorrhagic stroke that involves bleeding into the brain. Treatments may include medications such a clot-busting drugs or emergency endovascular procedures such as a thrombectomy.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a condition in which there has been an external force to the head caused by a blow or jolt to, or penetration of the head that in some way injures the brain. A TBI can occur during a car accident, from being tackled during a football game, or from a combat-related wound. Mild traumatic brain injury may affect your brain cells temporarily. More-serious traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain. These injuries can result in long-term complications or death. Common symptoms include loss of consciousness, trouble concentrating, headaches, confusion, dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, slurred speech, vomiting, problems with coordination, seizures, and weakness or numbness in the arms or legs. Traumatic brain injuries are usually emergencies and consequences can worsen rapidly without treatment. Treatment options depend on the severity of the injury and can include rest and medication for mild injuries and surgery for moderate to severe injuries.