Neurology Landing Page | Tampa General Hospital

TAMPA GENERAL HOSPITAL

RANKED AMONG THE TOP 10% OF HOSPITALS IN THE NATION FOR NEUROLOGY & NEUROSURGERY BY U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT 2021-22

Tampa General Hospital provides more neurological services than anyone in the region. Our 32-bed neuro ICU is one of the largest on the west coast of Florida, with a team of physicians who specialize in treating neurological conditions, supported by a robust staff of specially trained and certified nurses, technicians and other medical team members.

KNOWLEDGE

Tampa General Hospital offers a full spectrum of care for neurological problems and provides comprehensive treatment for children and adults affected by a neurological disease. From emergent situations like a stroke, to epilepsy and movement disorder care, our specialized teams diagnose and treat even the most complex patients using innovative techniques and state-of-the-art technology.

EXPERIENCE

Our neurologists, neurosurgeons and interventional radiologists are on-site 24/7, 365 days a year to diagnose and treat even the most complex conditions.

RECOGNITION

Tampa General Hospital is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 10% in the nation for neurology and neurosurgery. We are rated one of the best hospitals for Back Surgery (Spinal Fusion) and Stroke Care.
STROKE
As a comprehensive stroke center, Tampa General Hospital offers a level of care to stroke patients that primary centers simply cannot match. With one of the largest neuroscience intensive care units in the nation and an in-house stroke team, we provide effective, comprehensive stroke care, 24 hours a day. We have the experience and resources necessary to provide care from initial emergency admittance through rehabilitation.

The only nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center in Hillsborough County, Tampa General provides multidisciplinary emergency intervention and follow-up treatment for stroke patients in accordance with all guidelines set forth by the American Heart Association. As a result, TGH earned the STROKE Target Stroke Honor Roll ELITE PLUS recognition. TGH is also the first hospital on Florida’s west coast to receive Comprehensive Stroke Certification from the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program.

OUR STROKE CARE

A stroke occurs when the brain is deprived of sufficient blood flow, leading to an interruption in necessary oxygen and nutrients. Because a prolonged disruption to normal blood flow can cause long-term damage to brain tissue, receiving prompt care at a comprehensive stroke center like Tampa General Hospital is critical. Our highly trained stroke team includes board-certified stroke physicians, interventional neuro-radiologists and other stroke care specialists. We evaluate patients on a case-by-case basis and determine the most appropriate treatment, tailored to each individual’s unique needs. We also offer specialized inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs to help individuals recover from the effects of a stroke. Common stroke symptoms include:

  • Facial drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion or difficulty comprehending speech
  • Severe headache
  • Blurred or dimmed vision
  • Numbness
  • Confusion and dizziness

 

These symptoms typically come on suddenly and require immediate medical attention. If this happens, choose Tampa General Hospital.

If you or someone you know is experiencing stroke symptoms, dial 9-1-1 right away and ask to be taken to your nearest comprehensive stroke center.

 

SEIZURES & EPILEPSY
Tampa General Hospital has the professional expertise and facilities to provide the highest level medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with seizures and complex epilepsy. Using advanced diagnostic tools, our team of neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuropsychologists and other specialists can develop a treatment plan tailored to each patient’s unique condition.

Tampa General Hospital’s Epilepsy Program is accredited by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) as a Level 4 epilepsy center, which means we offer the highest possible level of medical and surgical services for patients with seizures. The program is also the first in the nation to receive disease-specific certification from The Joint Commission.
Epilepsy is one of the most common disorders of the nervous system, resulting in unprovoked seizures. A seizure occurs when there are disruptions in the electrical signals of the brain’s cells (neurons). In a typical brain, this interactivity between neurons is ordered and balanced. However, when multiple neurons misfire simultaneously it can cause sudden changes in an individual’s sensation, behavior and/or consciousness. The severity of this condition depends on the location and intensity of these electrical disruptions.

TREATMENTS:

Our team of neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, nurses and technicians are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of seizures in both adults and children. Treatment options include:

 

  • Surgery that removes the part of the brain that is responsible for causing seizures
  • Laser ablation for minimally invasive neurosurgery — using light energy to destroy the portion of the brain where seizures originate
  • Vagus nerve stimulation — implanting a device to send mild electrical pulses through the vagus nerve at regular intervals to control the symptoms of epilepsy
MOVEMENT DISORDERS
Our physicians specialize in treating a wide range of movement disorders. We take a comprehensive and individualized approach combined with leading-edge techniques and technologies, such as deep brain stimulation, to treat our patient’s movement disorders, manage their symptoms, and improve quality of life.

CONDITIONS:

"Movement disorders" is a term used to describe a group of neurological conditions. Depending on the specific disorder, its stage and severity, a patient may experience a range of movement difficulties, including a lack of fluency and/or speed, loss of and/or slowed voluntary movement, and involuntary movements. Conditions treated include:

  • Parkinson’s disease – a degenerative disorder caused by the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells.
  • Essential tremor – a progressive disease that causes tremors when a patient’s hands are being used for activities.
  • Dystonia – a condition caused by over-activity in the main muscles, the involuntary activation of muscles that work against each other, and over-activity in muscles that are not required for movement.
  • Ataxia – a lack of muscle control in the arms and legs that may affect a patient’s balance and coordination. This disorder may also affect eye movement, speech and hands.
  • Huntington’s disease – a progressive, inherited disease that most commonly presents in the patient’s 30s or 40s. It causes degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and has a broad effect on a patient’s movement and cognitive abilities.
 

TREATMENT:

Deep brain stimulation is a well-established treatment option for patients who are dealing with a range of movement disorders, such as essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and dystonia. It involves implanting specific areas of the brain with electrodes, which produce mild electrical pulses that may block the brain signals responsible for certain movement disorder symptoms. Though not a cure for any movement disorder, deep brain stimulation has been proven to significantly reduce tremors and ease other symptoms in many patients, thereby improving their quality of life.

Because deep brain stimulation is a surgical procedure, it is not without risks and is typically only considered when other treatment options, such as medication, have not achieved desired results. The treatment includes:

  • Brain surgery – using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), physicians first determine which areas of the brain should be implanted with electrodes. During surgery, electrodes are inserted into specific areas of the brain. Patients will typically remain awake during the procedure to provide feedback that the surgical team can use to correctly place the electrodes.
  • Chest wall surgery – this portion of the procedure involves implanting the pulse generator, which is programmed to send continuous electrical pulses, and connecting it via a wire to the electrodes in the brain.

Tampa General Hospital is committed to providing patients with the best treatment outcomes for their movement disorders. To ensure the greatest likelihood of success, we utilize the most advanced imaging and surgical tools and provide patients with individualized attention from a team of highly experienced physicians.

SPINE DISORDERS
Tampa General Hospital specializes in a wide range of spinal surgery and rehabilitation services that have helped countless patients find relief from their spine problems. Along with featuring one of the largest neuroscience intensive care units on the west coast of Florida, we provide comprehensive treatment and world-class spinal care for patients. Our surgeons are highly experienced and skilled in the most advanced surgical techniques, including image-guided surgery and laparoscopic (minimally invasive) procedures.

CONDITIONS

Spine disorders generally develop due to an injury or the repeated stress placed on the spinal column over time. Disorders of the spine often impair an individual’s ability to function painlessly.

There are a vast number of spine disorders. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Degenerative spine disease – the degeneration of parts of the spine that happen naturally as part of the aging process.
  • Scoliosis – the abnormal curvature of the spine, usually in an S or C shape. Scoliosis is most common among children and adolescents.
  • Bulging disc – when an intervertebral disc protrudes out of its intended space in the spinal column, the condition is called a bulging disc, and can lead to painful nerve compression.
  • Sciatica – the symptoms of leg pain due to compression of the sciatic nerve.
  • Arthritis of the spine – natural wear and tear of the spine can cause the cartilage between the spine’s joints to thin, often resulting in inflammation and joint pain.
  • Spinal cord injury – spinal cord injuries can occur by playing high-impact sports, motor vehicle accidents, falls, or diseases like polio or spina bifida.

TREATMENTS:

Our neurosurgeons perform the following spine surgery procedures, many of which are minimally invasive:

  • Percutaneous vertebroplasty – When one or more vertebrae are fractured, this minimally invasive procedure fills in the fractures with medical-grade cement to strengthen the bone and help prevent further damage.
  • Kyphoplasty – When a vertebra has fractured and collapsed, this procedure restores height and support to the spinal bone by lifting it back up with a balloon-like device and filling in the space with medical-grade cement.
  • Laminectomy – In cases of spinal stenosis (spinal narrowing), this procedure trims or removes some of the vertebrae to widen the spinal canal and relieve any pressure on the spinal cord.
  • Spinal fusion – This procedure grafts two vertebrae together to immobilize them in cases where the movement of the vertebrae causes pain.

In addition to these spine surgery procedures, Tampa General Hospital provides spinal cord injury rehabilitation services. Our program is designated as a provider of rehabilitation for both adult and pediatric spinal cord injury patients by the Florida Department of Health, Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program. This means our facility has the highest level of expertise and experience to address the medical, rehabilitation, therapeutic, and case management needs of patients of all ages who sustain traumatic spinal cord injuries.

TGH Neuroscience Institute

David’s Story

Ruth’s Story

Schuyler’s Story

Erica’s Story

MEET OUR MEDICAL DIRECTORS

Harry van Loveren, M.D.

Dr. van Loveren serves as co-medical director of the neurology and neurosurgery service line at Tampa General Hospital, and is board certified in neurological surgery and trauma surgery. He attended medical school at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Medical School and completed his residency for neurosurgery at Good Samaritan Hospital. He is chair of the Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair and vice dean for Clinical Affairs for the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

His clinical and research interests include pain, functional neurosurgery, trauma, vascular neurosurgery, and skull-base surgery.

Clifton Gooch, M.D.

CO-MEDICAL DIRECTOR
Dr. Gooch serves as co-medical director of the neurology and neurosurgery service line at Tampa General Hospital and while board certified in neurology, he specializes in both neurology and neuromuscular medicine. He attended medical school and completed his residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, where he then went on to complete his fellowship at Duke University in North Carolina.

His clinical research is focused on motor neuron diseases and ALS, neurodegenerative diseases, neuropathies, neuroimmunological disorders of nerve and muscle, myasthenia gravis and neuromuscular junction disorders, nerve injury and entrapment.