About Us
Bookmark and Share

Neurosurgery more than just the brain: Best for back and neck pain

By: Jonathan Carothers

Monday September 19, 2011

Pictured from left to right are Thibodaux Regional Medical Center neurosurgeons Drs. Deepak Awasthi, Thomas Donner and Peter Liechty.

Thibodaux Regional Medical Center provides patients benefits from state-of-the-art care and has the only full-service neurosurgery program in the region.

Most people believe that neurosurgeons only perform brain surgery, but the majority of procedures performed by neurosurgeons are to treat neck and back pain. They spend about 80 percent of their time treating spine disorders.

The spine is more than just a series of bones. It contains the spinal cord, which connects the brain to all the nerves in the body.

“Our goal is to preserve the brain, spinal cord and nerve function, whether the root of the problem is in the brain or the spine,” said Dr. Thomas Donner, Neurosurgeon at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center. “We encounter more patients needing spine surgery than brain surgery.”

With at least six years of residency training beyond medical school, neurosurgeons uniquely understand how the brain, spine and nerves function together and what the proper treatment is for injury to and pain caused by the brain, spine or nervous system.

All-Inclusive Neurosurgical Care

Patients benefit from a full range of neurosurgical services at the Spine Center of Excellence at Thibodaux Regional, the only full-service program in the region. Three experienced spine surgeons, a team of specialists and physicians create a comprehensive, collaborative, patient-centered approach to caring for people with neck or back pain. The doctors and spine surgeons focus on each patient by individually reviewing every case to determine the best course of action, whether that’s surgical or non-surgical. The team also provides an ongoing management program complete with a Nurse Navigator.

Drs. Donner, Deepak Awasthi, and Peter Liechty strive to provide patients with exceptional, compassionate care while offering a wide array of services, including comprehensive general neurosurgery, cranial intervention, and minimally invasive and complex spinal surgery. Dr. Donner specializes in minimally invasive procedures, as well as surgery on brain tumors, while Drs. Awasthi and Liechty focus on spinal reconstructive procedures.


“Thibodaux is unique to have an active neurosurgery program like ours,” said Dr. Donner. “Most people in small towns across the US would have to travel a fair distance for care.”

The neurosurgeons at Thibodaux Regional use a conservative approach to the care provided to patients, and one referral to the Spine Center at Thibodaux Regional gives patients the best chance to solve back and neck pain.

A Nurse Navigator coordinates the efforts of a patient’s care team— managing treatment plans, making appointments and following up with the patient and spine surgeon or doctor to be sure your treatment is effective.

So instead of visiting one type of specialist, only to go back to the doctor when back pain still exists and get a referral to a different specialist, a patient can get the care needed in one place.

For more information about the neurosurgery program at Thibodaux Regional call 985-447-2645.

About Thibodaux Regional Medical Center

Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, a 185-bed acute care facility, provides inpatient and outpatient care for the people of Lafourche and seven surrounding parishes.  Highly specialized services offered include Heart Surgery, Medical and Radiation Oncology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, General, Laparoscopic, and Bariatric Surgery, Pulmonology, Rheumatology, Women’s Services, Sleep Disorders, Behavioral Health, and Inpatient and Outpatient Physical Rehabilitation Services. Nationally recognized for quality care and service, Thibodaux Regional has been named a Distinguished Hospital by J.D. Power and Associates and has been honored with the Press Ganey Summit Award for high levels of patient satisfaction.