Pediatric Neurosurgeon at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Performs Life-Changing Spinal Surgery

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Mega Doctor News

Edinburg, TX— Doctors Hospital at Renaissance was honored to be a part of a life-changing surgery for a local pediatric patient.  The patient began experiencing decreased motor movement at the age of 4, with his extremities becoming weaker over time. At the time that he presented with his symptoms to Dr. Michael Burke, Adult and Pediatric Neurosurgeon at the Neurosurgery Institute at Renaissance, he was completely immobile.

“We are now doing things that were previously not possible here. [Before the Neurosurgery Institute at Renaissance], to receive this treatment, the patient would have to be transported to another hospital in Texas,” states Dr. Burke. “We continue to expand the specialized pediatric services here in the Rio Grande Valley so families don’t have to travel away from home for their care.”

During development, the patient’s first vertebra did not form properly, as it was still fused to the base of the skull. Because of this, the cervical vertebra began pushing on the brain, which worsened over time as the patient continued to grow. There was also an abnormal presence of fluid in the spinal cord.

To fix this developmental abnormality, a traction device was attached to the patient’s head to pull the neck back into its correct placement. Once this was complete, most of the pressure on the patient’s brain stem and spinal cord was removed. Utilizing specialized equipment at DHR that is normally used for adult spinal surgery, Dr. Burke preformed a fusion procedure that would permanently keep the patient’s head in the correct alignment with the neck. This specialized technology allowed Dr. Burke to properly place the rods and screws via x-ray imaging in the operating rooms.

Since beginning treatment, the patient has come a long way from not being able to walk or breathe without assistance, to now being able to stand and move around with assistance. During the next several months, the traction device will continue to be worn and rehabilitation will be completed to help the patient improve motor function.

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In October 2016, Dr. Burke expanded his specialty services to Brownsville as a way to increase access to members of our community in need of neurosurgical services. At the Neurosurgery Institute at Renaissance, Dr. Burke and his team treats disorders such as aneurysms, brain tumors, congenital brain and spine malformation, hydrocephalus, neural tube defects, spina bifida, spinal cord tumors and more.

About Dr. Michael J. Burke

Dr. Burke received his Doctorate of Veterinary and Master of Science degrees from Colorado State University and continued to complete his Medical Degree at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Denver, Colorado. He completed his Neurosurgery Residency there are well as the Denver Children’s Hospital, Denver, Colorado. Dr. Burke is Board Certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and is a Neurosurgery Specialty Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Burke is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American Board of Pediatric Neurosurgery.