Brain and Spine Care at Scripps: It’s Comprehensive

Includes neuro oncology

Advanced images of the brain and spine help Scripps' neurological team provide personalized care to every patient. SD Health Magazine

Includes neuro oncology

Many San Diegans suffering from traumatic brain injuries, stroke, spinal tumors, movement disorders or even migraine headaches put their health in the hands of Scripps. 

Known for medical excellence and a multidisciplinary, team-based approach to care, Scripps neurological specialists treat a wide range of conditions and employ advanced technology and techniques to provide personalized care to every patient

“It’s a comprehensive program that we have,” says Christopher Uchiyama, MD, a neurosurgeon and division head for neurosurgery at Scripps Clinic. “We do everything as a group, but that’s what neurosurgery is — we hire people who have different interests that complement each other’s skills, but we’re all comfortable taking care of each patient.” 

Neuro-oncology focus

Among the areas Scripps neurological specialists focus on is neuro-oncology, which involves treating cancers of the brain, spine and peripheral nerves. 

In addition to a weekly neurosciences conference for general concerns, these specialists hold bimonthly neuro-oncology meetings for neurosurgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, neuroradiologists and others, where they discuss cases and develop care plans. 

Complex skull-base surgeries are now an option for more patients with the recent addition of Jeremy Ciporen, MD, a neurosurgeon and expert in cranial-base surgery and endoscopic cranial surgery at Scripps Clinic Rancho Bernardo.

Treatments for skull-based tumors, movement disorders

New approaches to treating skull-based tumors and movement disorders are fueling an expansion of neurosciences services. 

Scripps neurosurgeons are:

  • Performing stereotactic radiosurgery with oncology physicians
  • Performing endoscopic procedures with otorhinolaryngologists — doctors who specialize in conditions involving the ear, nose, throat, base of the skull, head and neck
  • Collaborating with spine surgeons to treat tumors along the neck and spine

What is brain mapping?

Brain mapping is also making new procedures possible for tumors, lesions and vascular malformations. 

“Brain mapping is possible thanks to equipment that we were able to purchase over the past couple of years. It can make brain surgery safer by showing neurosurgeons how the tumor is positioned related to the surrounding motor pathways, for example, the nerve pathways that are involved in movement,” says Dr. Uchiyama. 

Neural implants for various conditions

Scripps neurologists and neurosurgeons are also using implanted devices to treat various conditions. For example:

  • Implanted spinal cord stimulators can treat chronic pain.
  • Drug pumps can deliver anti-spasmodic agents to patients with advanced multiple sclerosis.
  • Deep brain stimulation devices can help quiet the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. 

Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and Scripps Green Hospital are recognized as being among San Diego’s highest performing hospitals for neurology by U.S. News & World Report. 

San Diego Health Magazine Winter 2023 Cover

This content appeared in San Diego Health, a publication in partnership between Scripps and San Diego Magazine that celebrates the healthy spirit of San Diego.

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