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laser treatment

Disc surgery leads to better improvement than non-operative treatment in recent New England Journal of Medicine study.

By Articles of Interest

Best management of sciatica (leg pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness) caused by a herniated disc in the lumbar spine is challenging. We spine surgeons incorporate several factors into our decision-making: severity and duration of symptoms as well as imaging findings just to name a few. At East Bay Brain & Spine/BASS Neurosurgery we aim to avoid surgery when a patient will likely improve with physical therapy and other “conservative” treatments. On the other hand, we perform surgery when discectomy will improve a patient’s pain, numbness/tingling, and strength outcome.

This recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine studies patients (a randomized trial) who have sciatica from a herniated disc and do not undergo surgery right away. When these patients do undergo discectomy surgery four to twelve months from when the leg symptoms began, their sciatica, back pain, and level of disability improve as compared to others who were assigned physical therapy, epidural steroids, or other non-surgical treatments. 

This study provides further evidence that surgery for persistent sciatica and herniated disc in the low back is better than non-operative treatment.

Role of Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT) in the Treatment of Brain Tumors

By Featured
Dr. Merkow spoke the East Bay cancer community about the role of laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) in the treatment of brain tumors. He discussed the common reasons to use LITT in lieu of more traditional surgical or non-surgical interventions. Dr. Merkow believes this cutting-edge tool is an important component in the neuro-oncology armamentarium to fight brain tumors. Dr. Merkow lectured with Drs. Gigi Chen and James Rembert who composed the remainder of the expert panel. Drs. Chen and Rembert discussed updates on medical oncology and radiation oncology, respectively.