Tulane Medical Center
August 22, 2018

When tremors make simple tasks like eating difficult or embarrassing. When involuntary muscle contractions prevent a musician from playing. When chronic pain keeps a grandpa from playing with his grandkids.

Many neurological conditions are more than life-threatening – many also have symptoms that limit one’s quality of life. But new technology and services offered by the Tulane Neuroscience Center offer hope and solutions for patients with Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and other similar conditions.

Tulane Health System recently launched a stereotactic and functional neurosurgery program, which uses the latest technology and surgical techniques to provide advanced “restorative” options for patients with movement disorders or degenerative neurological diseases.

“I call what we do ‘quality of life’ neurosurgery,” said Dr. Robert Dallapiazza, who recently joined Tulane as its director of stereotactic and functional neurosurgery. “While many of these conditions are certainly life-threatening, they are also life-limiting – and the things we do can help eliminate symptoms and help our patients enjoy their lives to fullest.”

Stereotactic neurosurgery uses highly-accurate positioning of probes in the brain using three-dimensional imaging for a variety of treatment options. One such procedure is called deep brain stimulation, in which a device is placed inside the skull that delivers electrical signals to the areas of the brain that control movement and pain. These electrical pulses are timed to affect the pulses in the brain that cause symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.

“Think of it as a pacemaker for the brain,” said Dr. Dallapiazza, who is fellowship-trained in stereotactic and functional neurosurgery.

The program also offers surgical solutions to alleviate pain associated with conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia and seizures and other symptoms associated with epilepsy. And with the addition of neurologists Drs. Sarah Perez and Neda Hidarilak, the Tulane Neuroscience Center now offers a multidisciplinary team approach to the comprehensive care of patients with movement disorders.

The stereotactic and functional neurosurgery program is the latest of several advancements within the Tulane Neuroscience Center. Last month, Tulane became the first hospital in the region to offer a new robotic guidance and navigation system that provides minimally invasive surgical options for several complex spinal, orthopedic and neurological conditions.

To learn more, please visit Tulane Healthcare or call the Tulane Neuroscience Center at (504) 988-5561.