Chicago-Area Neurosurgeon Mina Foroohar, MD, Teams with Orthopedic Surgeon Richard Mannion, MD, for Lower-Back Fusion Surgery

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Mina Foroohar, MD, a board-certified neurosurgeon in Arlington Heights, Illinois, has teamed with board-certified orthopedic surgeon Richard Mannion, MD, to perform lumbar spine (lower-back) fusion surgery. Patients benefit from the expertise of two skilled spine specialists with different backgrounds—and the doctors split the surgical fee.

We think that operating together is good for our patients because it leads to fewer complications, shorter hospital stays and better outcomes

Richard Mannion, MD and Mina Foroohar, MD

We think that operating together is good for our patients because it leads to fewer complications, shorter hospital stays and better outcomes.

Chicago-area board-certified neurosurgeon Mina Foroohar, MD, FACS, of Northwest Neurosurgery Institute, LLC, is one of very few neurosurgeons to perform lumbar spine, or lower back, fusion surgery in partnership with an orthopedic surgeon.

For these procedures, Dr. Foroohar has teamed with Richard Mannion, MD, FACS, of Northwest Orthopedic Surgery, SC, in Arlington Heights, Illinois, 25 miles northwest of Chicago.

“Teaming a neurosurgeon and an orthopedic surgeon is a great collaboration because we are fundamentally very different in our skills,” says Dr. Foroohar. “I’m somebody who does brain surgery, so I’m very microsurgical in my technique and am very comfortable operating close to the nerve.

“Back surgery can involve hardware, and no one understands hardware and putting in screws better than orthopedic surgeons,” she adds. “Everything they do, whether it’s joint replacement or fixing a fracture, involves hardware. So there’s a lot to be gained from neurosurgeons working with orthopedic surgeons.”

“We think that operating together is good for our patients because it leads to fewer complications, shorter hospital stays and better outcomes,” adds Dr. Mannion.

“Most neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons do not tend to collaborate since it does result in splitting the surgical fee,” Dr. Foroohar explains. “Dr. Mannion and I are both there for the entire procedure—but we're getting paid half of what we would have gotten if we had done the surgery by ourselves.”

Patients have responded enthusiastically to the idea of Drs. Foroohar and Mannion operating together. “Once patients have been told they can have both of us operating together, they won’t do it any other way,” says Dr. Mannion. “It’s more a question of making sure we can schedule a time when Dr. Foroohar and I can do cases together.”

“I’d never heard of a neurosurgeon operating with an orthopedic surgeon,” admits Gloria Johnson, 63, a legal secretary who has had painful osteoarthritis for more than 20 years. After conservative treatments failed—medication, physical therapy, cortisone injections—she became a candidate for surgery.

“Gloria’s MRI revealed lumbar spinal stenosis, meaning pinching of the nerves in her lower spine caused by a narrowing of the spinal canal,” Dr. Foroohar explains. “She also had spondylolisthesis, a condition where a spinal vertebra slips forward over the one below it.”

Because Gloria had more than one spinal condition, she needed more than one type of procedure to correct the cause of her pain and numbness. “I explained to Gloria that her surgery would involve both laminectomy to free the nerves and lumbar spinal fusion to correct the spondylolisthesis and stabilize the spine,” says Dr. Foroohar.

“When Dr. Foroohar mentioned lumbar fusion surgery, she told me, ‘I always work in partnership with an orthopedic surgeon for this procedure. I take care of the nerve part of it, and Dr. Richard Mannion takes care of the actual hardware that goes into the back,’” Gloria recalls.

At Dr. Foroohar’s recommendation, Gloria met with Dr. Mannion prior to her surgery. “I had a chance to ask him about what I could expect after spinal fusion,” Gloria recalls. “He answered all my questions.”

Gloria had lumbar fusion surgery on a Wednesday, went home on Friday—and was back at work six days later. “I feel great now!” she says. “And my insurance took care of the surgery; I never had to pay a cent.”

Northwest Neurosurgery Institute, LLC, is a private neurosurgery practice founded by Mina Foroohar, MD, FACS, in 2006. Dr. Foroohar, who has been in practice since 2001, is board-certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. For more information, call Northwest Neurosurgery Institute at 847.398.9100 or visit http://www.northwestneurosurgery.com.

Richard Mannion, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon at Northwest Orthopedic Surgery, SC, in Arlington Heights, Illinois. For more information, visit http://www.nworthopedic.com or call 847.870.4200.

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