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Serious Medicine. Extraordinary Care.

Spine Center Provides Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic and Acute Conditions

Peter Lennarson, MDBack and neck pain are common problems that many of your patients will experience at some point in their lives. Disorders and injuries related to the spinal column can be painful and debilitating. In severe cases, they can cause permanent disability or loss of movement or feeling below the injured area.

The Nebraska Medical Center Spine Center clinic provides comprehensive care for the treatment of acute and chronic conditions of the spine. The center has both neurosurgeons and an orthopedic surgeon with a spine specialty. The center evaluates and treats congenital, degenerative and traumatic conditions of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine.

"It is sometimes difficult to know when to refer your patient to a neurosurgeon for surgical evaluation," says Peter Lennarson, MD, neurosurgeon and medical director of the Spine Center. Dr. Lennarson suggests trying conservative measures first. These include: anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy or referral to a pain management specialist to consider therapies such as epidural steroid injections, trigger point injections, facet injections or nerve blocks. However, if an X-ray or scan suggests an abnormality that you feel warrants more attention, Dr. Lennarson recommends referring your patient directly to a neurosurgeon. All patients should have an MRI or CT scan performed before referral to a neurosurgeon.

"We provide a very comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to care that enables us to treat every problem or injury that comes along including acute trauma to the spine, chronic pain related to injury or trauma and structural problems," says Dr. Lennarson.

All care is coordinated in one central location from diagnostics to pain management, surgery and rehabilitation. The referring doctor or patient works directly with a nurse case manager who collects all of the necessary patient information and tests and enters it into the Priority Consult patient triage software. This is evaluated by the neurosurgeon before the patient’s appointment. In some cases, additional tests may need to be ordered prior to the patient’s doctor visit.

"Our primary goal is to make patients well without surgery," says Dr. Lennarson. Dr. Lennarson and his staff will make sure all conservative measures have been exhausted first before considering surgery.

"Surgery for spine conditions can be extremely effective," says Dr. Lennarson. "The majority of our patients get relief from their problem. The key is performing the right surgery, in the right area, at the right time. Often patients come to us after a prior surgery and we discover that the surgery only addressed part of their problem. We spend a lot of time with our patients educating them and talking to them so we can understand what their primary problem is and to make sure we address their major complaints. Our goal is to make the patient’s experience efficient and productive." To learn more about our Spine Center, go to www.NebraskaMed.com/spine

To make a referral to the Spine Center:

  • Call 800-922-0000 to speak with a nurse case manager. You will be asked to provide patient demographic information, symptoms and diagnosis.
  • The patient will be contacted by the nurse case manager to discuss their spine problem history and to have recent imaging or tests forwarded to the Spine Center
  • Once all of the patient records have been received, the neurosurgeon will review the patient’s case and make recommendations.