Neurologists and neurosurgeons in Richmond, Virginia
At Johnston-Willis Hospital, our expert neurology team is experienced in diagnosing and treating conditions of the brain and nervous system. We offer a wide range of treatments fit our patients' unique situations. When advanced care is needed, our neurosurgeons offer access to innovative surgical procedures, including "knifeless" brain surgery.
For more information, or for a physician referral, call our free, 24/7 Consult-A-Nurse line at (804) 320-3627.
Johnston-Willis Hospital was the first hospital in the U.S. to receive The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval for brain tumor care, and we've also received the Gold Seal of Approval for Stroke Rehabilitation. Additionally, we were the first non-academic community hospital and the second in Virginia to achieve the Comprehensive Stroke Certification by DNV-GL Healthcare. These designations reflect our neurology program's commitment to comprehensive, evidence-based care.
Advanced neurology services
Johnston-Willis Hospital's Brain and Spine Center in Richmond offers high-quality care for brain and spine conditions. We do this through employing experienced specialists and using innovative technology. In fact, our center brings neurologists, neurosurgeons, pain management doctors and physical therapists together in one building. This has given us a successful track record of helping patients regain critical skills and optimal neurological health.
We are also one of the very few hospitals on the East Coast with operating suites and teams completely dedicated to brain and nervous system care. We offer a sophisticated neuroscience intensive care unit and patient transition facilities.
Neuroscience intensive care unit (neuro ICU)
After a serious neurological event or surgical procedure, we will transition you to a private, spacious room within our neuro ICU or our neuroscience step-down unit for recovery.
In these units, as well as our epilepsy monitoring unit, you will benefit from the latest in patient monitoring technology, which means a fast response, effective care and a private environment for recovery.
Neurological conditions and disorders we treat
Our neurologists and neurosurgeons treat a wide range of neurological disorders, including:
- Acoustic neuromas
- Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and other neurovascular abnormalities
- Brain tumors
- Degenerative disc disease
- Guillain-Barré syndrome
- Head injuries and concussions
- Herniated discs
- Intracranial hemorrhages
- Migraines and other headache disorders
- Movement disorders, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), essential tremor, Parkinson's disease and spasticity
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Myasthenia gravis (MG)
- Spine injuries
- Spine tumors
- Trigeminal neuralgia (face pain)
- Vertebral fractures
An aneurysm is an enlargement of an artery caused by a weak artery wall. This can occur anywhere there are blood vessels, including in the brain. The bulging, blood-filled pocket can put pressure on parts of the brain or even rupture, causing bleeding in the brain. This rupture can cause serious complications for patients. This is why early detection and diagnosis is important when treating an aneurysm.
Brain aneurysm risk factors include:
- A family history of aneurysms
- Being 40 years old or older
- Drug use
- High blood pressure
- The use of oral contraceptives
You may be experiencing an aneurysm if you have:
- Loss of consciousness
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Stiff neck
- Sudden blurred and/or double vision
- Sudden severe headache
- Sudden trouble moving your arms and legs
If you have a family history of brain aneurysms, talk to your doctor about getting screened. Treatment options include surgery and interventional techniques, such as clipping and coil embolization.
Brain cancer and tumor care
Johnston-Willis Hospital offers comprehensive care for brain cancer and brain tumors. From diagnosis and treatment to recovery and survivorship, our neurology and oncology teams are with you every step of the way.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by abnormal brain activity, resulting in seizures or the onset of unusual sensations, behaviors and emotions. We offer an epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) where our neurology teams carefully monitor patients experiencing or recovering from seizures.
Essential tremor care
Essential tremor is a progressive neurological condition that causes shaking of the hands, head and voice. In some patients, the severity of essential tremor progresses to the point it significantly impacts daily activities, such as eating, dressing and writing.
For interested patients, we offer access to a dedicated nurse navigator to help you understand your diagnosis and coordinate treatment, ensuring you feel supported in your care.
Meet our neuroscience nurse navigator
As our neuroscience nurse navigator, Denise Laine, BSN, RN, provides insight and guidance throughout the care process. She provides you and your family with education about your diagnosis and treatment options and can connect you to community resources for additional support.
Movement disorders treatment
Our neurosurgeons have extensive experience helping patients with movement disorders. Our goal is to effectively manage symptoms caused by movement disorders, including tremors, slowness of movement, stiffness and walking problems.
A stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate, highly skilled treatment. A stroke happens when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. Brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. Our stroke care team is prepared to receive, diagnose and treat stroke patients 24/7, and we work with our local emergency medical services (EMS) partners to streamline your care on the way to our hospital.
Receiving stroke treatment within the first hours of symptom onset is critical for the best possible outcomes. However, we are the first medical center in Virginia to use a special neuroimaging platform to allow our physicians to expand the stroke treatment window.
Depending on the type of stroke, we may administer clot-dissolving drugs or clot retrieval devices, or we may perform coiling or stenting procedures. These procedures are performed by our neurointerventional specialists in our neurointerventional surgery center.
We also provide neurorehabilitation services and a full range of physical therapy programs to help our patients recover from stroke, including speech therapy, occupational therapy and a driving assessment program.
Symptoms of stroke
If you suspect someone is having a stroke, remember to act "FAST" to identify symptoms. "FAST" is an acronym that stands for:
- Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
- Time: If you observe any of these stroke warning signs, call 911 immediately.
If you believe someone is experiencing a stroke, call 911 immediately.
Trigeminal neuralgia is an intense, sharp, severe pain that occurs on one side of your face. Although the extreme burning or shock-like pain from this chronic condition typically lasts for only a few minutes, the intensity can be physically and mentally draining.
We are one of only a few neuroscience centers in the nation to offer the full range of treatment options for trigeminal neuralgia, including medications, glycerol injections, microvascular decompression and surgery.
Triggers for the intense flashes of face pain can include vibration or contact with the cheek from activities as simple as:
- Applying makeup
- Eating, drinking and/or talking
- Exposure to the wind or breeze
- Washing the face or brushing the teeth
Diagnosing trigeminal neuralgia can be difficult because many other conditions can cause face pain. Treatments for various types of face pain differ, so finding the cause and making an accurate diagnosis is the key to effectively managing with this disorder.
Neurological treatments we offer
Deep brain stimulation (DBS)
DBS, is a surgical procedure that involves the implantation of a device that sends electrical signals to brain areas responsible for body movement. These electrical signals can help reduce the symptoms of movement disorders.
Deep brain stimulation involves placing a thin metal electrode (about the diameter of a piece of spaghetti) into one of several possible brain targets and attaching it to a computerized pulse generator, which is implanted under the skin in the chest below the collarbone.
DBS is not a cure for movement disorders, but it can successfully treat symptoms by disrupting the abnormal patterns of brain activity that become prominent in these diseases.
As the only hospital within our family of hospitals providing this treatment, we are proud to pioneer focused ultrasound. Focused ultrasound is an incisionless treatment for patients who experience tremors but have not responded to medicine. It is not an invasive procedure and does not require electrodes or probes.
The ultrasound is guided by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to treat areas deep in the brain. Ultrasound energy is raised to a high temperature and focused on a small target in the brain. A tiny burn, called an ablation, is created at the targeted point, creating an immediate effect on the tremors.
Patients who undergo the procedure often have immediate and significant reduction in tremors, improving their ability to perform daily activities.
Benefits of focused ultrasound
Focused ultrasound requires no anesthesia, incisions or implanted hardware. Patients are awake throughout the procedure, which allows them to interact with their neurosurgeon and respond to commands to continually evaluate their tremor. This real-time monitoring and feedback allows the neurosurgeon to precisely target areas of the brain controlling the tremor.
Typically, patients do not need to stay in the hospital overnight and are able to rapidly return to normal activities. Additionally, patients often see immediate improvement after the procedure, with full results taking approximately three weeks.
Candidates for focused ultrasound
Focused ultrasound benefits patients who:
- Are age 22 years or older
- Are able to tolerate the procedure and communicate sensations during the procedure
- Are not candidates or are unwilling to have invasive surgery
- Have a confirmed diagnosis of medication-refractory essential tremor
Minimally invasive stereotactic radiosurgery
We are also one of the only hospitals in central Virginia to offer patients access to minimally invasive stereotactic radiosurgery, also referred to as "knifeless" surgery. This procedure uses extremely precise radiation beams to treat a variety of neurological disorders.
The procedure is painless and unlike other treatment options, it does not require patients to cut or shave their hair. Because there is no incision, recovery time is reduced, and most patients leave the hospital the same day as the treatment.
Many patients require physical rehabilitation after a neurological event, such as a stroke. Our physical therapists, speech pathologists and occupational therapists develop personalized neurological rehabilitation programs to help patients regain skills and function.
Neurological care at HCA Virginia
Neurological care is the practice of medicine that focuses on the treatment, function and diagnosis of diseases relating to the nerves and nervous system. Neurologists and neurosurgeons treat disorders that affect the brain or spinal cord.Learn about Neurological care