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National Neurosurgery Awareness Week Kicks Off During Annual Meeting of the AANS

The Fourth Annual Neurosurgery Awareness Week (NAW) kicks off this year from April 16-19 during the 75th Annual Meeting of the American Association// of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) in Washington, D.C. Approximately 3,000 neurosurgical medical professionals will meet in the nation’s capital to further their continuing medical education in specialty areas including cerebrovascular, pain, spine and peripheral nerves, pediatrics, stereotactic, trauma, and tumor, as well as socioeconomic issues affecting the specialty.

'The goal of NAW is to help educate people about the role of the neurosurgeon in treating a wide range of medical conditions and diseases,' stated Ghassan K. Bejjani, MD, AANS spokesperson. When people hear the word 'neurosurgeon,' most think 'brain surgeon.' However, neurosurgeons are medical specialists who diagnose and treat disorders of the entire nervous system. Of course, they operate on the brain, but they actually spend close to 70 percent of their time helping patients with spine and peripheral nerve problems, providing surgical and nonsurgical care.

Have you or a family member undergone successful surgery to treat Parkinson’s disease, congenital deformities, hydrocephalus, tumors of the central nervous system, low back or neck pain, stroke, cerebral aneurysms, head injuries, or any of the many other conditions treated by neurosurgeons? If so, consider submitting your story and help the AANS reach out to the public.

This initiative is phase two of ongoing Web site improvements the AANS has implemented over the last two years. The section entitled Conditions & Treatments has been completely revised and updated. The most up-to-date information is provided on more than 50 neurosurgical conditions and diseases. Included are essential components such as prevalence and incidence statistics, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, and both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options. In addition, there are color fact sheet s on injury prevention and other safety-related topics under Patient Safety Tips.

. Low Back Pain – An estimated 75 to 85 percent of all Americans will experience some form of back pain during their lifetime. Although low back pain can be quite debilitating and painful, in about 90 percent of all cases, pain improves without surgery.

.Vertebral Compression Fractures (VCFs) – VCFs are the most common fracture in patients with osteoporosis, affecting about 750,000 people annually. Traditionally, people with severe pain from VCFs have been treated with bed rest, medications, bracing, or invasive spinal surgery. When conservative treatment options have proven ineffective, two minimally invasive procedures, called vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty may be considered as treatment options. Recent advances in spinal procedures have reduced the need for invasive surgery, in many cases.

. Chronic Pain – It is estimated that 30 to 40 million Americans a year suffer from pain that does not respond to aspirin or ibuprofen. Chronic pain may affect people to the point that they cannot work, eat properly, participate in physical activity, or enjoy life. Estimated costs for treating chronic pain, both directly and indirectly, are close to $50 billion a year. Neurosurgeons treat chronic pain with state-of-the-art medical technology. The most commonly treated conditions that cause pain are atypical facial pain, failed spinal surgery, phantom limb pain, stroke, and headache.


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