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Desert Spine and Neuroscience Institute

Map72780 Country Club Dr., Ste. A-104
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
  • Neurological Surgery


Standing Apart While Delivering Gold Standards Of Excellence In Every Aspect Of Neurosurgery And Neurological Care For Spine- And Brain-Related Conditions

By Ellen Paris

Taking care of the Coachella Valley since 2001, Desert Spine & Neuroscience Institute’s (DSNI) team of seven highly experienced physicians and medical support staff has earned a well-respected reputation throughout the country for delivering complete treatment, from diagnostic to surgical care. All four neurological surgeons are board-certified specialists utilizing state-of-the-art technology. Patients receive the highest caliber of care from DSNI.

These highly trained physicians provide patients a full range of care, from minimally invasive spine and brain surgery to major reconstructive spine surgery and complex brain tumors. Because of the depth of experience these seven physicians have, in addition to neuromuscular and cerebro-vascular disorders that are DSNI’s scope of care includes epilepsy, headaches, and general neurological disorders often difficult to diagnose and treat.

All DSNI physicians are highly motivated to provide the best possible care in their own subspecialty. They are well-respected among the medical community for their decades of combined neurosurgical experience. Drs. Shahin Etebar, Farhad Limonadi, Alfred Shen, Ali Tahmouresie, and Ronald Levey are recognized for their depth and breadth of experience in diagnostics and utilizing the latest treatment techniques, resulting in more positive outcomes among their patient population.

With 15 years of experience, Dr. Etebar is a specialist in minimally invasive and complex spinal surgery. Dr. Shen, who joined the group in 2002, also specializes in minimally invasive and complex spinal surgery. Dr. Limonadi’s specialties are complex brain tumors and diseases of the brain, as well as minimally invasive spine surgery. He joined the group in 2005. Dr. Tahmouresie is former chairman of the Department of Surgery and former president of the medical staff at Eisenhower Medical Center. At DSNI, he is responsible for nonsurgical medical management of brain and spinal cord disorders (sciatica, disc herniation, stenosis, osteoporosis, and spinal fractures). He leads the group’s multidisciplinary Spine Conference.

Dr. Indermohan Luthra has practiced in Coachella Valley since 1994 and is fellowship-trained in neuromuscular diseases and epilepsy. Dr. Bishoy Labib is fellowship-trained in cerebrovascular disease and has practiced in the valley for eight years. In addition, he served as associate neurology residency program director at University of Arkansas for medical sciences.

Dr. Levey is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with DSNI who also treats spinal disorders as well as general orthopedic disorders with nonsurgical treatment of spine and joint disorders. Dr. Levey has 35 years of experience in surgery of the spine, joints, and trauma practice. Over the last 10 years, he has devoted himself to the nonsurgical treatment of injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system.

If surgery is necessary, Drs. Tahmouresie and Levey refer patients to the DSNI surgical team for further comprehensive evaluation and treatment. Two years ago, Drs. Labib and Luthra, two board-certified neurologists, joined the growing practice, expanding its scope of comprehensive care even further.

DSNI’s combined areas of interest and expertise include acute stroke management, stroke rehabilitation, musculoskeletal pain, neuromuscular disorders, peripheral neuropathy, epilepsy, headache, and Parkinson’s disease. DSNI neurologists are involved in multiple clinical trials related to stroke, epilepsy, and peripheral nerve disorders, including electronic splints integrated with microprocessors for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome.

“Providing tailored patient-care treatment plans and not employing a cookie-cutter approach is the way each individual case is handled,” says Dr. Shen. “Once the primary pain source is determined, the odds are higher for successful treatment and excellent outcomes.”

The main reason for DSNI’s successful treatment strategies is taking the time to make the correct diagnosis and tailor the treatment individually for each patient. DSNI physicians search for pain generators when taking care of neck and back pain. “The sources of spinal pain are hard to diagnose, because the spine itself is very complex,” Dr. Tahmouresie says. There are many variables that may be causing pain, including torn and ruptured discs, arthritic joints, or injured muscles around the spine. The most important part in treating back and neck pain is to determine where the pain is coming from. One diagnostic test or scan doesn’t always give a definitive diagnosis.

“Treatment of simple and complex spine disorders starts with making a correct diagnosis, understanding the pathophysiology of the disease and biomechanics the spine, employing appropriate sets of conservative measures, and finally, if needed, performing the correct operation using the latest technologies and techniques,” explains Dr. Limonadi.

The experience of excellent patient care begins with the initial phone contact. The friendly and knowledgeable staff will help the patients schedule appointments and arrange insurance authorizations for various scans. All team members treat patients as they would want themselves and family members treated.

DSNI’s practice continues to grow as more patients come directly through referral from friends and family who have been successfully treated, often after years of chronic pain and incorrect diagnosis. Prior patients are DSNI’s No. 1 source of new referrals. Over the years, patients have traveled from across the country and overseas seeking the expertise of DSNI’s medical team. Patients go through rigorous diagnostic testing and examinations before receiving a definitive diagnosis and a treatment plan.

Once patients return home, DSNI closely communicates with their doctors, who use DSNI’s treatment plans and follow-up modalities.

Just as major medical centers do, selectively chosen cases are presented to DSNI’s Spine Conference and Brain Tumor board. Difficult cases are reviewed and treatment recommendations made. Patients thus receive three and four “second” opinions on their specific case. The Brain Tumor board is a multi-specialty conference including neurosurgery, neurology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology, and primary care physicians. This board is chaired by Dr. Limonadi and reviews the neuro-oncology cases in a multidisciplinary fashion.

DSNI’s Spine Conference meets weekly. Here, a patient’s history, electrodiagnostics, and imaging studies are reviewed. Conservative treatment measures are discussed and consensus is reached whether surgery or another treatment modality is necessary. Cases presented to the Spine Conference are often complex patients who have received treated elsewhere and have not responded to the treatments in the past.

DSNI’s surgeons perform less-invasive spinal surgeries, including fusions with minimal hospital stays, thanks to the latest technology and procedures available. They are one of the leaders utilizing specialized diagnostic SPECT CT Scanning, which is not available in many areas of the country. DSNI has one of the largest volumes of spine patients in the world assessed by SPECT CT imaging modality. It was one of the first groups to apply that technology to treating spine disorders.

All DSNI physicians are highly motivated to be the best at what they do. Their main motivation is always excellence.

DSNI physicians are actively engaged in community projects, such as in education of medical professionals in neuroscience as well as raising awareness among youth with regard to deleterious effects of recreational drug use.

For more information about DSNI, visit their website at www.desertspine.org

72780 Country Club Drive, Suite A-104
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
760-837-8020 • Fax: 760-834-3780

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