Siva Sriharan, MD, intimately knows and
respects the spinal cord. It's notoriously intolerant of injury, and has a mind
of its own. While encased in the bony armor of the vertebral column, the spinal
cord is not just nerves, but also an organ. More than 60% of Bay's neuroscience
cases involve this thin ribbon of fatty tissue that is "our life."
Dr. Sriharan has equal reverence for the brain, an organ like no other. The
brain is our diary, our calendar, our Blackberry, our I-Phone. If its
directional signals are compromised, so are we. We are unable to think, process
information, follow directions, or express creativity.
"It is here where Bay
Neurosciences would like to do more," says Dr. Sriharan, "by destroying
aneurysms with clips or coils, removing brain tumors, evaluating and repairing
trauma of closed head injuries, and preventing swelling of the brain."
The new neurosurgical suites are equipped with a frameless stereotactic
BrainLab and precise intraoperative navigation, providing 'real time' feedback
of where surgeons are in the brain. "I have always been able to think
three-dimensionally, and the equipment enhances that ability," says Dr.
Sriharan. "You must have patience and know the best pathway in, and exactly how
to proceed, so the patient has the best chance for a highly functional
All four physicians at Bay Neurosurgery Associates have extensive experience
in removing or resecting tumors. They perform fusions, laminectomies, and
resection of spinal tumors. "We also receive many referrals for khyphoplasties,"
says Dr. Sriharan.
Osteoporosis, a slow leaching of calcium from the bone, can cause fractures
most commonly found among older women. Osteoporosis can cause painful curvature
of the spine, resulting in what is sometimes referred to as a dowager's hump.
Kyphoplasty is a procedure used to treat these painful spinal
"We enter the spine with two small needles, and insert two balloons, which
are inflated to reduce the fracture, and restore more normal spinal alignment,"
explains Dr. Sriharan. "We remove the balloons, and the small cavity in the
fractured vertebra is filled with medical grade cement to stabilize the spine."
For the osteoporosis patient, the relief is almost immediate.
One only has to see the effects of a major spinal cord injury or stroke to
understand why patients are encouraged to:
- have regular carotid screenings, take blood pressure
medications (if prescribed), and to report any seizures immediately;
- wear helmets for all extreme supports -- that
includes skiing, motorcycling, bicycling, horseback riding, snowboarding, and
- buckle up every time they get in the car;
- use proper bending and lifting techniques.
"All of us try to put ourselves in the patient’s shoes, because patients and
family members often ask: ‘What would you do if it was your family member?’"
stresses Dr. Sriharan. "It is important that we have the patient’s trust, so we
carefully consider the diagnosis, and what can be done.
"That’s why we spend so much time discussing possible outcomes. If a patient
has multiple medical problems, it’s our obligation to tell them that the
procedure could worsen their condition, and make them dependent on others. Then
again, the surgery could give them more mobility or function. We can give
them the medical facts, but we can’t make the decision for them."