Fall 2018 Highlights From The Spine Hospital at the Neurological Institute of New York

Dec. 17, 2018

Little boys playing in leaves

While the leaves turned golden hues and pumpkin spice filled the air, a lot happened at The Spine Hospital at the Neurological Institute of New York. We hope you take some time to fall into some of the best stories we posted this season. Enjoy!

Three Surgeries, One Happy Family

Marilis Byrnes was joyfully pregnant with a baby boy—but she was also scared. The numbness in her hands and feet had spread to her arms and legs, and she had also started falling. On top of that, prenatal testing revealed her baby had spina bifida, a condition in which the spinal cord does not form properly.

After being admitted to Columbia University Irving Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Marilis learned the reason for her symptoms: Her spinal cord was severely compressed. She needed a neurosurgeon to correct the problem and prevent lasting damage, all while keeping her baby safe. And once born, her baby boy would need a pediatric neurosurgeon to repair the spine structures that had not formed correctly.

If it sounds like a tall order, that’s because it was.

But not too tall for neurosurgeons Dr. Christopher Mandigo and Dr. Richard C.E. Anderson. Dr. Mandigo is a highly skilled spine surgeon with experience in operating on pregnant patients, and Dr. Anderson is a pediatric neurosurgeon with expertise in treating spina bifida, including the severe form that Marilis’s baby had, called myelomeningocele.

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Making of a Neurosurgeon: Dr. Donald Quest

The latest addition to our Making of a Neurosurgeon series is the inspiring story of Dr. Donald Quest, and it came just in time for Veteran’s Day. A naval pilot turned neurosurgeon, Dr. Quest had a unique journey to neurosurgery, and he has made a lasting impact on the field. Moreover, as a mentor to young neurosurgeons, his contributions are far from over.

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BACK to School: Spine Health and Kids

Is her backpack too heavy? Is desk time affecting his spine? Can my child with scoliosis participate in gym class? These are concerns many parents have each year as summer break comes to an end and their children return to school.

To dispel concerns, physical therapist Rami Said, D.P.T., and pediatric neurosurgeons Dr. Richard C.E. Anderson and Dr. Neil Feldstein shared timeless advice for making school and sports back-friendly for every child, including those with spine conditions.

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The Spine Treatment You Should Know About: Physical Therapy

In honor of National Physical Therapy Month in October, we shared how our physical therapy team, which includes Evan Johnson, D.P.T., Director of Physical Therapy, and Senior Physical Therapist Rami Said, D.P.T., helps patients dealing with spine issues.

Their skills may surprise you. They often work in concert with neurosurgeons, both before and after surgery. And sometimes, physical therapy is prescribed instead of surgery.

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Dr. McCormick Helps a Young Diver Get Back to His Sport

Over a matter of months, 16-year-old Jake felt his body spiral out of control: He had back pain, swelling in his lower back and cramps in his legs. Once a diver focused on training and competing, Jake found himself unable to even work out to stay fit. Jake and his family visited doctor after doctor, gaining a swath of opinions but no clear path forward.

Then came the evening when Jake’s right leg collapsed. That, says Jake, was when “the problem became urgent.” Determined, Jake’s father tried even harder to find a doctor who could help his son, and his search paid off. He found Dr. Paul McCormick, Director of the Spine Hospital.

Right away, Jake and his parents had a good feeling when they met Dr. McCormick, According to Jake, “He immediately made us very comfortable. He explained his experience. He was just a very well-rounded guy, and confident in his abilities.”

As Jake and his parents would learn, Dr. McCormick is internationally recognized in the procedure Jake needed and uniquely qualified to perform it.

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Learn more about our Spine Hospital neurosurgeons on their bio pages below:

Learn more about Director of Physical Therapy Dr. Evan Johnson on his bio page here.

Learn more about Senior Physical Therapist Dr. Rami Said on his bio page here.

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