Ever heard the saying, “It’s not brain surgery”? Even in our everyday expressions, we have come to regard this field as one of the most difficult and high-pressure occupations only the most intelligent and skilled individuals can perform.
Barry Katz, MD, at Mercy Clinic Neurosurgery – Joplin is one of those people. As a board-certified neurosurgeon, Dr. Katz performs surgery of the nervous system, specifically the brain and spinal cord.
“The procedure I do most often is spine surgery. It makes up about 80 percent of procedures,” he said. “The most common cause is degenerative arthritis or general back pain in older individuals that occurs over time.”
Other types of problems Dr. Katz treats are many: lumbar and cervical spinal fusion, head trauma, spinal cord stimulation, brain tumors and hydrocephaly, which is an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid inside the brain.
Dr. Katz also frequently performs kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive, outpatient treatment for spinal compression fractures to reduce pain, stabilize bone and restore some or all of lost vertebral body height due to the fracture.
“Kyphoplasty is a feel-good procedure,” he said. “The compression fractures, usually in the thoracic or lumbar spine, can be from trauma or commonly osteoporosis. The procedure entails putting needles through the fractured bone, inflating a balloon to create a space and putting in cement to strengthen the bone. It has a pretty high success rate, and people often experience immediate pain relief. It’s very rewarding.”
Dr. Katz, whose medical degree and residency were completed at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, is an expert in life-saving procedures inside the skull, including biopsies, hemorrhage removal and tumor removal, plus has expertise in modern technology to perform these delicate brain surgeries.
Because Dr. Katz is a general neurosurgeon, he can diagnose and treat the vast majority of neurosurgical problems. Nearby Mercy neurosurgeons in Springfield are available for highly specialized procedures like pediatric neurosurgery, skull-based surgeries and neurovascular treatment for aneurysms.
“To me, it’s the best of both worlds,” he said. “Even though we’re not New York, Chicago or another major metropolitan area, we have a great group of neurosurgeons available to us. We have good collaboration between Joplin and Springfield and are very fortunate.”