By Ellen Paris
Desert Spine and Neuroscience Institute (DSNI) in Rancho Mirage, California, with a team of seven highly experienced physicians and medical support staff, distinguishes itself in the Coachella Valley and beyond as a completely independent medical organization and medical practice. DSNI operates autonomously from medical centers, hospitals, insurance companies and other public and private entities. Key to DSNI's high rate of successful outcomes in diagnosing and treating patients is the fact, physicians are free to provide evidence-based care minus the constraints of "corporate medicine," which presents inherent challenges to physicians and patients. This allows DSNI patients to receive the care needed from diagnosis to treatment, a definite plus in today's healthcare delivery environment.
In its continuing efforts to serve patients and the community, as a medical resource DSNI's website, www.desertspine.org, is providing first-hand physician reviews on a variety of pain treatment products for spine, neck, carpal tunnel, and other neurological conditions. These include; the Electronic Posture Aid (EPA) and the Neurosplint for Carpal Tunnel pain. DSNI's doctors are actively researching pain products to offer the latest technology.
"These are pain products we have used ourselves and have received positive results. We are utilizing this website to communicate those recommendations as a resource for people worldwide who want and need information from qualified physicians who know what products work well for pain and its treatment," explains Dr. Limonadi, director, Neurological Surgery, and chairman of the Brain Tumor Board at DSNI. DSNI's experienced neurosurgeons have seen many pain treatment products come and go and know what's effective and what's not. Desertspine.org also contains an important educational component on options for spine and brain treatments ranging from conservative to surgical. Desertspine.org is a onestop resource with information easily accessible and easily understood.
Dr. Alfred Shen, Chief of Neurosurgery at Eisenhower Medical Center and board certified with the American Board of Neurological Surgery, specializes in the assessment and treatment of brain and spinal disorders, including traumatic and degenerative spine disease, disc disorders, and tumors. He advocates the use of modern technology in surgery, including minimally invasive spinal surgery, artificial disc replacement, and intraoperative use of stereotactic imaging and guidance. "Each physician at DSNI always focuses on each patient as a unique case. We do not use a cookie-cutter approach to treat patients. This is one reason why we have been successful and many of our referrals come from past patients," explains Dr. Shen, who has been with DSNI since 2002.
Dr. Shen utilizes a broad scope of diagnostic tools to assess and offer solutions, which are not necessarily surgical. "I only recommend surgery when it is strongly indicated and if more conservative measures have failed." He points out that it often may take several visits or studies to diagnosis a problem. "I turn over many stones to find the correct diagnosis; the problem(s) are not always obvious right away," he says. "Once the appropriate diagnosis is made, an evidence-based treatment plan can be formulated for that specific patient."
Performing comprehensive spine surgery utilizing modern technology, including stereotactic navigation and intraoperative monitoring, results in positive outcomes for Dr. Shen's patients. As part of DSNI's commitment to patient care, Dr. Shen often provides educational seminars to the nurses on topics ranging from brain injury management to surgical treatment of spinal disorders. This commitment to the nursing staff has benefited many of DSNI's patients. "DSNI is fortunate to have a dedicated neurosurgery unit at Eisenhower Medical Center where both surgical and nonsurgical patients can be treated," Dr. Shen explains. "We have nurses and therapists in this unit who have been with us for over a decade, who we have educated and are familiar with our protocols. Patients get the best proper care from these nurses and therapists from the start, resulting in a faster recovery." This unit, with its dedicated staff and high level of care and experience helps set DSNI apart.
Dr. Limonadi's specialties include complex brain tumors, diseases of the brain, and minimally invasive spine surgery and treatment of spinal disorders affecting both neck and back and herniated discs. Also board certified with the American Board of Neurological Surgery, Dr. Limonadi's practice is exclusively evidence-based using the latest technology. He also treats carpal tunnel syndrome. "I always perform the least surgery possible, yet achieve the most positive outcomes."
Videos of Dr. Limonadi's neurosurgeries have been seen by millions on YouTube.com. Google Farhad Limonadi and neurosurgery to locate them. He is noted for successfully performing complex brain and spine operations where the patient is awake during the operation. Patients facing these types of surgeries can trust Dr. Limonadi's expertise and success rate.
Dr. Limonadi also performs life-changing minimally invasive-keyhole operations for treatment of trigeminal neuralgia: electric shocklike intense lower facial pain originating from the trigeminal nerve. In some people, the pain is so intense and often it is known as "suicide pain." "Once again, I recommend surgery for this only when absolutely necessary," he says.
Giving back to the community is a natural for Dr. Limonadi. He volunteers by speaking at local high schools with two superior court judges. They lecture on the consequences of alcohol and drug abuse. "We educate young adults to make better choices. I talk about the biological consequences of drug use, while the judges explain judicial punishment," Limonadi says.
Dr. Shahin Etebar, DSNI's medical director specializes in spinal reconstruction due to failed surgery, cancer and trauma, adult degenerative scoliosis, diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders and tumors, and minimally invasive spinal surgery. Board certified with the American Board of Neurological Surgery, Dr. Etebar considers being a neurosurgeon "a privilege of trust. Every time I do surgery on a patient's back or brain, I realize the trust each patient has in me and feel how privileged I am to do this," he says.
Tailoring individual treatment plans is how Dr. Etebar practices medicine. "Most spinal patients present with pain. I investigate the spine, including multiple joints and ligaments, to determine the source." Dr. Etebar believes "if you don't identify the pain generator, the treatment will fail." He treats about 90 percent of his patients nonsurgically, including therapy or targeted injections. "Finding the true pain source lets you to do the least invasive treatment with good outcomes," explains Dr. Etebar, one of DSNI's founding physicians who has practiced in the Coachella Valley for more than 15 years.
As a group, DSNI is dedicated to providing the highest-quality care to patients. "If a patient doesn't do well after treatment or surgery doesn't work, I look at it as a personal failure, says Dr. Etebar who had 17 years of training prior to practicing. He would gladly do those 17 years again. "Having people literally put their life in my hands is a privilege every time."
Dr. Shen's values and words speak volumes about DSNI and the unique care and treatment patients can count on.
For information about DSNI, visit their website at www.desertspine.org.
Desert Spine and Neuroscience Institute
72780 Country Club Drive, Suite A-104, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
760-346-8058 • Fax: 760-834-3780 • www.desertspine.org