Neuroscience center of excellence in Denver

Swedish Medical Center ranks among the nation’s top neuroscience programs, serving as a leader in the field of neurology and neurosciences and the treatment of stroke. Our program combines state-of-the-art technology with an outstanding team who have extensive experience and expertise in treating nearly all forms of neurological disease.

We know facing the diagnosis of a complicated neurological disorder can be overwhelming. We also know the most effective treatment must not only address the illness, but also the individual as well. You’ll find our approach centers on caring for you as a person, not just treating the disease.

Our Physicians

Features and benefits of our neuroscience center

  • 25 neuro-related clinical studies
  • Stroke telemedicine services
  • Critical care and neuroscience-certified nurses and nurse practitioners
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery non-invasive procedures
  • 24/7 team availability for stroke treatments
  • 2D/3D intraoperative surgical imaging system to help our surgeons excel in the OR
  • Specialized palliative care services

Neurological disorders we treat

Our team of highly specialized neurosurgeons, functional neurosurgeons, neurologists and interventional neuroradiologists are available 24/7 to treat patients with neurological conditions, such as:

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Cerebral aneurysms

A cerebral aneurysm occurs when the wall of a blood vessel in the brain becomes weakened and enlarges. This puts pressure on the nerves and brain tissue. If the blood vessel becomes so weak it bursts, a hemorrhagic stroke, brain damage, coma or death may occur.

Symptoms of cerebral aneurysms can show as:

  • Single-side face paralysis
  • Dilated pupil in the eye
  • Vision changes
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Pain above and behind the eye

Carotid artery disease (stenosis)

Carotid arteries are the blood vessels that bring blood to the brain and head. When one of these arteries becomes narrowed due to a buildup of plaque, carotid artery disease occurs. This disease can progress without symptoms, but puts patients at an increased risk for stroke. A warning sign may include a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is a mini-stroke. TIA symptoms are the same as a stroke, and as such, immediate medical treatment is necessary.

Trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic and sometimes debilitating condition affecting one of the three branches of the trigeminal nerve in the head. The trigeminal nerve is responsible for providing sensation to the face. When one becomes irritated, which may happen for instance when a blood vessel presses on the nerve, the person experiences excruciating pain in all or part of their face. A simple physical motion, such as applying makeup or brushing teeth, can cause and trigger this excruciating pain.

The three branches of the trigeminal nerve in the head where you might feel pain are:

  • The mandibular nerve, which controls the lower jaw
  • The maxillary nerve, which controls the cheeks, nasal cavity, lower sinuses, palate and upper jaw
  • The ophthalmic nerve, which controls the eyes, upper sinuses, forehead and scalp

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Advanced treatment of traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries

When a brain or spinal cord injury occurs, time is critical. As a Level 1 Trauma Center, Swedish’s team of specialists are on call 24/7 to provide immediate care to patients from the moment they arrive through outpatient care and rehabilitation.

Along with our own special care units, Swedish partners with two nearby rehabilitation facilities to provide additional specialized care:

  • Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital, located in Aurora, is part of the HealthONE system along with Swedish. Spalding specializes in neurologically injured patients, including those experiencing stroke, traumatic brain injury and other related conditions.
  • Craig Hospital, an international leader in rehabilitation of brain and spinal cord injuries, is located adjacent to Swedish Medical Center.

Traumatic brain injury

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs from sudden trauma that causes damage in the brain and can range from mild to severe. Examples of situations that can result in a TBI include:

  • Falling and hitting your head
  • Violence (gunshots, domestic abuse or child abuse)
  • Vehicle or bicycle accident
  • Sports injuries
  • Combat injuries

Spinal cord injury

Spinal cord injuries generally happen when a trauma causes vertebrae to dislocate or become fractured, interrupting the communication that travels along the spine between the brain and the rest of the body.

Epilepsy

Swedish offers comprehensive diagnosis and treatment capabilities for seizure disorders. Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain becomes interrupted, causing unpredictable, recurring seizures, periods of odd behavior or, at times, a loss of consciousness.

Our team uses leading-edge technology and equipment in the care of our patients. These advanced resources include:

  • Pre-surgical evaluation/diagnostic testing
  • Long-term epilepsy monitoring unit
  • Ambulatory EEG monitoring

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Neuromuscular and nerve disorders

Our multi-disciplinary team provides care for patients affected by neuromuscular disorders. Whether inherited or caused by a spontaneous gene mutation, these diseases cause muscle weakness or fatigue that gets worse as time goes on. We treat:

  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myopathy
  • Spinal muscular atrophy

Our Denver neurologists and neurological surgeons utilize leading-edge diagnostic equipment and treatment procedures to treat neuromuscular and nerve disorders. Some of the diagnostic tests we conduct include nerve biopsies, muscle biopsies, neuroradiology tests, electromyography and nerve conduction studies. Additionally, our department is capable of performing epidural blood patches to close spinal fluid leaks, epidural steroid injections to relieve pain or numbness, thymectomies as well as other neurological treatments. Dietary counseling is also available as part of our treatment plans.

Functional neurosurgery

Functional neurosurgery involves the restoration of neurological condition and function. This branch of medicine is in the midst of an explosion of innovation and progress, with new devices and expanding indications that allow neurosurgeons to help more people than ever before.

Functional neurosurgeons work with people experiencing neurological disorders such as complex regional pain syndrome, epilepsy, essential tremor, dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, nerve injuries, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, trigeminal neuralgia, Tourette syndrome, failed back surgery syndrome, hemifacial spasm, spasticity, occipital neuralgia, atypical facial pain and brain trauma.

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and other therapies for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement disorders
  • Surgical Management of epilepsy including resection, laser ablation, SEEG, DBS, RNS, VNS and others
  • Functional surgery for chronic craniofacial, spinal and extremity pain disorders

At Swedish Medical Center, we use cutting edge technologies such as robotic neurosurgery, stereotactic radiosurgery and laser interstitial thermal therapy, and intraoperative imaging for the best outcomes using the least invasive techniques possible.

We use medical robotic technology, designed to minimize invasiveness of surgeries of the central nervous system. This robot assists health professionals during surgical procedures and is especially effective for SEEG, DBS, endoscopic procedures, and brain tumor resection.

Our multidisciplinary team of experts includes a fellowship trained functional neurosurgeon, neurologists, anesthesia providers, radiology providers, specialty trained neurosurgical nursing staff, nurse navigator and others, who work together to provide the most efficient, comprehensive care.

For questions or more information about functional neurosurgery at Swedish, contact our program coordinator at 303-788-6939.

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