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Brain and Spine Trauma

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The rapid assessment, stabilization, and treatment of patients with brain and spine injuries are essential to their recovery. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's neurosurgeons, neurologists, and neurocritical care specialists are trained to quickly stabilize, diagnose, and treat patients suffering from brain or spinal trauma. Both NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center have neurologists and neurosurgeons available 24/7 who are ready to respond to emergencies. Our Neurological Intensive Care Units (Neuro-ICUs) also bring together specially trained medical staff, 24/7 surveillance, advanced monitoring techniques, and specialized medical and surgical treatments focused on improving the outcomes of patients with brain or spinal trauma.

man on gurney beside ambulance

The severity of a brain injury can range from a mild concussion to a severe injury that might result in coma or even death. Sudden and profound injury to the brain may be followed by secondary brain injury – a cascade of cellular, chemical, tissue, or blood vessel changes that develop in the hours to days after an accident. NewYork-Presbyterian's neurocritical care team uses advanced techniques to continuously monitor patients with serious brain injuries in order to treat and prevent such secondary brain injury.

Patients with severe head injuries may require monitoring to determine if the brain has swollen and if pressure inside the skull has increased, which can lead to brain damage. Our physicians use intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring to measure the level of pressure within a patient's skull. Neurocritical care specialists may use advanced cooling techniques to monitor and limit damage from trauma. In selected cases, neurosurgeons may remove part of the skull to alleviate pressure on the brain and prevent further swelling.

People who have suffered a spinal injury require immediate treatment to prevent further damage to the spinal cord. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's neurocritical care, neurology, and neurosurgery teams work quickly to stabilize patients with spinal injuries to avoid further trauma and maximize recovery. Surgery performed immediately or later may be necessary to stabilize fractured vertebrae, release pressure from the injured area, and treat injuries to other parts of the body. Patients usually begin rehabilitation within days of the injury, and may continue at New York-Presbyterian's inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation facilities.

Our hospital houses a New York State-designated Level 1 Adult Trauma Program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, and a Level 1 Regional Pediatric Trauma Program at both NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. At both locations, specially trained and designated trauma teams are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to treat the most severely injured patients.

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