Specializing in advanced brain and spinal tumors

The Ascension Saint Thomas UNITY System is a fully integrated neurosurgical center with a team of brain and specialists.

Brain and Spinal Tumors

To request more information about the UNITY Program, please complete the Information Request Form, or call us today at 1-855-74-UNITY (86489)

In Nashville, Tennessee, highly trained brain and spine surgeons and neurology specialists deliver compassionate, personalized care for brain disorders. Our care team listens to understand your health concerns, so you get the care that is right for you.

Brain tumors and other brain disorders require an innovative, personalized approach to care to achieve the best possible treatment outcomes.  Ascension Saint Thomas developed the UNITY System to provide this type of care.

Through the UNITY System, neurosurgeons and other neurological specialists use technology to create a virtual operating room where the entire team can view the brain and participate in surgery. This approach provides greater precision during surgery, allowing the team to work together in real-time to identify and deliver the right care. Our experienced team approach and the UNITY System helps patients return to home sooner and with a better quality of life than those in traditional neurosurgery programs.

We treat many different types of brain and spinal tumors at Ascension Saint Thomas, as well as a range of other disorders, diseases and diagnoses, including:

  • AVM (arterial/venous malformation)
  • Cavernous malformation
  • Glioblastomas (GBM)
  • Oligodendroma
  • Astrocytoma
  • Meningioma
  • Hemangioma
  • Acoustic Neuroma
  • Pituitary macro/micro-adenoma
  • Metastatic lesions to brain/spine
  • Trigeminal neuralgia

Advanced treatment options

Patients with a brain or spinal tumor may need radiation, surgery, or both. The UNITY System approach to care provides patients more treatment options, including minimally invasive procedures to remove a brain or spine tumor.

NeuroBlate® laser therapy

For hard-to-access brain lesisions,  NeuroBlate® laser therapy is less invasive than open brain surgery. This therapy helps keep the essential brain functions (including speech, vision and muscle control) in tact.  Our experienced  neurosurgeon uses precision technology to use the laser therapy to destroy abnormal tissue while doing as little harm as possible to surrounding healthy tissue.

The NeuroBlate® System from Monteris Medical® is a robotic laser technology that uses real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to precisely guide a laser probe. The laser applies heat to the lesion, in controlled amounts, until the diseased tissue is destroyed. It can be used on tumors and lesions in many locations in the brain, near the surface or deep inside. Hundreds of patients have undergone the procedure. This therapy has been shown to successfully reduce or remove diseased tissue.

The procedure is done while the patient is in an MRI machine, so the doctor can see the lesion and surrounding healthy tissue and apply the laser energy where it is needed. The temperature of nearby healthy tissue is monitored to help ensure that it is protected as much as possible.

Rather than making a large opening in the skull, the NeuroBlate® laser technology requires just a small hole, about the diameter of a pencil. The procedure is considered minimally invasive surgery, a type of procedure that generally involves less pain, discomfort, and scarring than traditional surgery and allows patients to go home and resume normal activity sooner.

Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technology (iMRI)

Ascension Saint Thomas West is one of the nation's first hospitals to utilize iMRIs intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) technology for the treatment of brain cancer and tumors.

The iMRI delivers high-resolution imaging capabilities directly into the operating room so the patient is never moved. The magnetic resonance imaging technology is a ceiling-mounted transport system and compatible with our operating room tables and technology. Our UNITY System  enables the surgeon to keep the patient in the best possible position for surgery. In addition to providing surgeons with real-time images, iMRI also offers these benefits:

  • Sharper imagery that can be updated during the procedure
  • More accurate diagnoses
  • More thorough removal of brain tumors

The iMRI technology helps eliminate the need for re-operation and prevent injury to key brain functions, giving the patient a better quality of life.

Brain cancer: Radiation oncology program

Ascension Saint Thomas is a leading U.S.  neurologic cancer center providing advanced radiation therapies for adult brain cancer. Digital 3D images help guide the radiation oncologist and surgeon to pinpoint the tumor.  Our precision technology delivers high doses of radiation to the irregular edges and contours the tumor but not the surrounding healthy brain tissue. This treatment options helps improve recovery times and reduce complications.  No incision is necessary and general anesthesia is not required for adults. Most patients can be treated on an outpatient basis.

Meet Our Team

Dr. Steven Abram
Specialties: neurosurgery, brain & spinal tumors

Dr. Richard Lebow
Specialties: neurosurgery, spine surgery

Dr. Scott Parker
Specialties: neurosurgery, spine surgery

Mark Sittig, MD
Specialty: Radiation Oncology

Dr. Adam Reig
Specialties: neurosurgery, brain & spinal tumors

Dr. John Spooner
Specialties: neurosurgery, endovascular neurosurgery, brain & spinal tumors

Dr. Jason Hubbard
Specialties: Neurosurgery, Spine Surgery

John Phillips, MD
Specialties: Radiation Oncology, Brain Tumors

Dr. Gregg Shepard
Specialties: hematology, oncology

Dr. Kent Shih
Specialty: medical oncology

Dr. Jeffrey Williams
Specialties: neuroradiology, spinal interventional radiology

Dr. Peter F. Jelsma, FCAP
Specialty: neuropathology

Casey Chollet, MD
Specialty: Radiation Oncology

Michael Johnson RN BSN CNOR CRNFA
Specialties: Neurosurgery, Image guided navigation

Christie Falcon, RTR MR CT
Specialty: Neurosciences Imaging

Brigette Ford, RN BSN
Nurse Navigator

Dr. Carla Davis, FCAP
Specialty: pathology

Call us today at 1-855-74-UNITY (86489)