Ascension Sacred Heart is the region’s leader in providing highly specialized treatment of brain and spine conditions.
Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart’s neurosurgery team delivers world-class brain and spine care close to home, ensuring all of our patients receive the highest quality of care without leaving Northwest Florida.
Our neuroscience program offers highly specialized services that include:
- Area’s only endovascular neurosurgeon
- Area’s only critical care neurologist, Dr. Terry A. Neill, MD
- Area’s only hospital providing stroke telemedicine to community hospitals
Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola is also:
Region’s only pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Gus Perez, MD
The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart provides Northwest Florida’s only pediatric neurosurgery program. The service is led by Dr. Gus Perez, who joined the Children's Hospital from fellowship training at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital/Stanford Children’s Health in Palo Alto, Calif.
The Studer Family Children's Hospital provides the region's only Pediatric Trauma Center and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and soon will add new operating rooms dedicated to pediatric procedures.
Region’s only nationally certified Comprehensive Stroke Center
Our regional stroke center in Pensacola is the only hospital in Northwest Florida designated as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration and by DNV Healthcare. The DNV Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification encompasses the full spectrum of stroke care -- diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and education. Comprehensive Stroke Centers are typically the largest and best-equipped hospitals that can treat any kind of stroke or stroke complication.
The Regional Stroke Center is directed by Dr. Terry Neill, a board-certified critical care neurologist who has advanced the level of stroke care at Ascension Sacred Heart for the past 12 years. The Stroke Center also provides the expertise of the region’s only endovascular neurosurgeons, Dr. Maria Toledo and Dr. Nathan Kohler, who can perform the latest minimally-invasive techniques used to diagnose and treat brain aneurysms, brain hemorrhages, and blockages in the head and neck that cause ischemic strokes.
In the past several years, those techniques have become the treatment of choice for certain aneurysms because they involve less risk and faster recovery than open brain surgery.
Endovascular thrombectomy has opened new possibilities in stroke management. Neurosurgeons at Ascension Sacred Heart are skilled at using a stent retriever to remove a brain clot by routing it through a catheter in the groin to the brain’s blocked blood vessel. Research has shown that thrombectomy can double a patient’s chances of avoiding disability after stroke.
Area’s only biplane imaging technology
Ascension Sacred Heart also is the only hospital in the region utilizing a state-of-the-art neurointerventional biplane system that enables neurologists to quickly locate blockages or malformations so they can provide the most effective treatment.
The biplane system has two rotating cameras that recreate detailed 3D views of blood vessels leading to the brain, within the brain, and their relationship to the tissues of the head and neck. Producing images simultaneously from two regions of a patient’s head – from front to back and side to side – decreases the time it takes to complete a neurological angiogram and reduces the amount of contrast material that is required.
Region’s only Gamma Knife Center for precise radio-surgical treatment of brain tumors
Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola is the only facility in Northwest Florida to offer the most precise form of non-invasive brain surgery, the Leksell Gamma Knife® Perfexion™.
Gamma Knife is a stereotactic radiosurgical instrument that delivers a single high dose of precisely focused radiation to the target, while leaving surrounding healthy tissue virtually unharmed. Gamma Knife radiosurgery has proven effective for patients with benign or malignant brain tumors, brain metastases, arteriovenous malformation (AVM), trigeminal neuralgia and other functional problems. It can be used as a primary or supplemental treatment option in combination with surgery, chemotherapy and other forms of radiation therapy.
Minimally invasive and complex spine surgery
The center provides specialists with advanced training and experience in minimally invasive spine surgery. Our team provides specialized surgery to treat complex spinal deformity and degenerative spine disorders.
Learn more about neurology at Ascension Sacred Heart
The role of a neurologist
Neurologists evaluate and treat disorders of the nervous system. Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart offers a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to evaluating and treating neurological disorders, including disorders of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves.
When a person has a neurological disorder that requires frequent care, a neurologist is often the principal care provider for those conditions. People with disorders such as Parkinson disease, dementia (i.e. Alzheimer's disease), seizure disorders (i.e. epilepsy), neuropathy, stroke or multiple sclerosis may use a neurologist. For cases requiring surgery, we collaborate closely with Ascension Medical Group neurosurgeons.
Advances in treating aneurysms
Dr. Maria Toledo is one of the nation’s leaders skilled in repairing brain aneurysms using the WEB (Woven EndoBridge) device. It is a fine wire mesh that expands and acts as a plug inside the aneurysm, reducing the blood flow inside it and preventing any further bleeding. This new minimally-invasive treatment enables endovascular neurosurgeons to treat patients who previously might have required open surgery.
RAPID Imaging Technology
RAPID is advanced imaging software at Ascension Sacred Heart that is changing the way neurologists intervene in stroke treatment when there's an aneurysm. RAPID imaging technology quickly analyzes MRI and CT brain scans to generate color-coded map views of the brain that allow neurologists to visualize the exact location of the clot and clearly determine which parts of the brain are healthy and which have been damaged by the stroke.
Hybrid OR combines the facilities of a standard operating room with a leading-edge biplane system, enabling surgeons to customize neurosurgical procedures for each individual patient utilizing both minimally-invasive and open microsurgery as needed.