A first for Wilcox: neurosurgery

Dr. Mark Gerber, neurosurgeon from Straub Hospital, helped a patient with hydrocephalus at Wilcox Memorial Hospital recently.

Instead of having to fly a very sick patient by air ambulance to O‘ahu for treatment, Gerber was able come to Kaua‘i and surgically place a shunt within the patient’s brain to allow fluid in the brain to bypass an obstructed area.

“This is a basic procedure,” said Gerber, “and a necessary one in treating what many people know as ‘water on the brain.’ It is a way of diverting the extra cerebrospinal fluid in the brain to the abdomen.” This is the first time a procedure like this has been done at Wilcox Memorial Hospital.

Because this particular neurosurgery does not require a special microscope, Gerber was able to come to Kaua‘i to help the patient and perform the surgery at Wilcox in the operating room that was suitable for this case, a hospital spokesperson said in a press release.

“It’s easier on the patient as well as the family, to be treated here on Kaua‘i,” said Gerber.

“This straightforward operation was easy to do at Wilcox, however, most surgeries are performed at Straub Hospital because of the special neurosurgical equipment that is available there,” he said.

Neurosurgery is commonly known as “brain surgery” to most people.

A neurosurgeon focuses on surgery of the brain, spinal cord and spine.

Gerber sees patients on Kaua‘i once every other week at Kauai Medical Clinic.

Patients are referred to him by primary-care physicians, and are usually seen on Kaua‘i by Gerber before and after their surgeries.

Gerber joined Straub Hospital in 2003. His interests include all aspects of adult neurosurgery, including minimally-invasive approaches to the brain and spine.

He is a graduate of the University of Florida School of Medicine, and completed his residency and fellowship in complex spinal surgery at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Arizona.

Appointments may be made by calling toll-free 24 hours a day, 1-800-232-9491, the Straub appointment line.

Wilcox Memorial Hospital is an affiliate of Hawaii Pacific Health, along with Kauai Medical Clinic, and Straub Clinic and Hospital, Kapi‘olani Health, and Pali Momi on O‘ahu.

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