Collaboration leads to convenience and a range of viewpoints in pediatric neuroscience care

The team includes 25 physicians, one neuropsychologist and 24 advanced practice providers. They are supported by nurse navigators, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, psychologists and social workers.

Norton Children’s Neuroscience Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, brings pediatric neurosurgery, neurology, neuroradiology, pediatric rehabilitation and neuropsychology together in a collaborative role.

“The goals are to provide excellent and convenient care for the patient and to bring different disciplines together,” said Vinay Puri, M.D., child neurologist-in-chief, Gretchen C. Rounsavall Medical Director in Child Neurology, Norton Children’s Hospital, and executive vice chair and professor of neurology and pediatrics at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

The team includes 25 physicians, one neuropsychologist and 24 advanced practice providers. They are supported by nurse navigators, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, psychologists and social workers.

Norton Children’s Neuroscience Institute offers care for the full range of neurological issues facing children, from spinal cord and brain tumors to spina bifida and cerebral palsy. Specialists meet weekly to discuss each patient and determine the best treatment plan.

“There is so much overlap in what we do, and we learn from each other,” Dr. Puri said.

For example, a child neurologist will see a patient experiencing seizures or headaches and coordinate care with a neurosurgeon if the seizures require surgery or the headaches have a structural etiology, according to Dr. Puri.

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Norton Children’s Neuroscience Institute offers advanced technology for epilepsy surgery, such as Visualase, which allows neurosurgeons to perform MRI-guided laser ablation surgery. Norton Children’s Hospital is one of fewer than two dozen pediatric hospitals in the United States offering this technology.

Virtual reality technology called Surgical Theater also is available. It allows surgeons to combine brain scans into a single 3D image that can be manipulated by the patient to learn more about their condition, as well as be a powerful teaching tool for planning complex surgeries.

In addition, Norton Children’s Neuroscience Institute has state-of-the-art electroencephalography (EEG) capabilities and offers vagal nerve stimulation, electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies. Norton Children’s Hospital was the first in Kentucky and among the first in the nation to use neurostimulation in a pediatric patient.

A number of specialty programs to support children and their families also is available, including a neuropsychology program that specializes in the evaluation of children and teens with a variety of neurological, neurodevelopmental and medical conditions, such as brain tumors and epilepsy. A neurogenetics clinic evaluates and treats children with brain, spine and peripheral nerve disorders.

“Many of our patients struggle with academics,” Dr. Puri said. “Our neuropsychologist will assess academic challenges in light of structural issues with the child’s brain.”

Other conditions treated at Norton Children’s Neuroscience Institute include autoimmune encephalitis, Chiari malformation, concussion and traumatic brain injury, craniofacial surgery, developmental disorders, dystonia, hydrocephalus, neuromuscular disorders, stroke, tethered cord syndrome, Tourette syndrome and tic disorders, and tremors.

Dr. Puri and Thomas M. Moriarty, M.D., Ph.D., chief of pediatric neurosurgery, spearheaded the effort to create Norton Children’s Neuroscience Institute, with support from Norton Healthcare. The idea was the brainchild of doctors in different specialties coming together.

The institute’s child neurology and neurosurgery specialists care for approximately 10,000 children and teens with neurological conditions and perform more than 750 surgeries each year.


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