Sierra Neurosurgery Nevada For Patients guides and information


What is Neurosurgery?

Most people think of neurosurgeons as brain surgeons, and this is true! However, neurosurgeons are more broadly defined as highly trained medical specialists who diagnose and treat disorders of the entire nervous system – including our brain, spinal cord, skull and the spine (bony vertebral column). Of course, they operate on the brain, but they actually spend more of their time helping patients with spine and peripheral nerve disorders.

Do I need surgery if I am being referred to a neurosurgeon?

Not necessarily. Your referring physician most likely believes that you have a disease or disorder which would benefit from diagnoses, testing and treatment by a neurosurgeon. The decision whether or not to recommend surgery is a complex one, best handled by your neurosurgeon and his/her team.

What is the difference between an orthopedic surgeon and a neurosurgeon?

Each of these surgical specialists has their own areas of expertise however, their skill and expertise overlap in the area of spinal surgery. Both specialties require 5-7 years of residency training, followed in some cases by additional time in fellowship training. Neurosurgeons perform spinal operations dealing with the cervical discs, nerves, and the bony spine, while orthopedic surgeons handle surgeries limited to the bony spine, such as spinal fusion.

How do I make an appointment with Sierra Neurosurgery Group?

Call us today at (775) 323-2080 or toll free (888) 323-2080.  We have 5 locations to serve you: Carson City, Elko, Fallon, Reno and Sparks.  If your health insurance plan requires a referral, contact your primary care or emergency room physician and request a referral to Sierra Neurosurgery Group.

What is the difference between a neurologist and a neurosurgeon?

A neurologist and a neurosurgeon are similar to a cardiologist and a cardiac surgeon: the neurosurgeon can offer a surgical solution to neurologic disorders, while the neurologist identifies neurological disorders through diagnostic testing and uses non-surgical treatment options.

Why choose Sierra Neurosurgery Group?

Our physicians perform brain surgeries & procedures.  It’s not something we “dabble in”.  When your health or level of function depends on it, look to Sierra Neurosurgery Group.  We are the Northern Nevada experts in cranial surgery including cancerous growths in the brain, Craniosynostosis, Aneurysms, Embolizations and cranial Plagiocephaly (flat or deformed spot on the skull).

Our physicians also have the highest level of expertise in spine disorders and various pain management treatments. The majority of operations performed by neurosurgeons are spine surgeries. Our physicians specialize in implantation of Deep Brain and Spinal stimulators;, spine and pituitary gland tumors; Stereotactic Radio Surgery (Cyberknife); Carpal Tunnel; Lumbar and cervical surgeries; Scoliosis; Steroid injections; Spinal blocks; and more.

  • Neurosurgeons complete more spinal surgery training than any other specialty.
  • Neurosurgeons are trained in treating diseases of the spine throughout a 7-year residency.
  • Neurosurgeons are the only physicians who treat the entire spine including the spinal cord.
  • Neurosurgeons spend about 70 percent of their time treating spine problems.
  • Neurosurgeons treat minor and complex brain tumors and disorders.

What insurance plans do you accept?

We accept most insurance plans, including HHP, Aetna, Blue Cross, United Healthcare, Medicare and Medicaid.  Call for details based on your insurance program and treatment plan.

Do you offer X-rays and MRI’s?

Sierra Neurosurgery offers comprehensive imaging services at our Reno office on Kietzke Lane, including X-Ray services and MRI scans with & without contrast.  This provides a quick, easy and no-hassle way to complete necessary imaging as part of your treatment plan.

What does “Board Certified” mean?

Following residency training, our neurosurgeons must seek certification in the practice of neurosurgery through the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS). Being a Board Certified Neurosurgeon, also called a Diplomate American Board of Neurological Surgery, is the highest level of neurosurgical qualification in this country.

This credential signals a special level of commitment to, and expertise in, the neurosurgical specialty. Certification by ABNS is based upon approval of an applicant’s educational and training qualifications, a review of the physician’s professional practice- including opinions of his or her colleagues, and the passage of written and oral examinations that covers the diagnosis and management of surgical and medical diseases of the nervous system. The certification process includes a thorough assessment of the neurosurgeon’s skill, judgment and depth of knowledge. The successful completion of this process will result in board certification.

Certification by the ABNS – the only board authorized by the American Board of Medical Specialties to certify surgeons in neurosurgery – is considered the “gold standard” in the field. By choosing a neurosurgeon who is board certified by the ABNS or one who is tracking toward ABNS board certification, a patient can be assured that his or her doctor has a high level of commitment to, and expertise in, the neurosurgical specialty.  Find a board certified neurosurgeon.

What does minimally invasive surgery mean?

With minimally invasive techniques, patients experience less trauma and pain due to very minimal disruption of the musculature. Compared to more traditional surgical techniques, patients have minimal scarring because of very small incisions, faster recovery times, shorter hospital stays and can return to pre-surgery activity levels much more quickly.

How do I make an appointment online?

Sierra Neurosurgery Group offers a convenient way to request an appointment online. Because of the complex nature of brain and spine disorders, as well as insurance coverages and unique imaging that may be required prior to your appointment with us, we respond to your request within the same business day, providing you with individualized patient care. Please call us today at (775) 323-2080 during normal business hours or use our website to request an appointment.

What hospitals in the area are used for surgery?

Depending on your procedure type and insurance coverage, we schedule patients for surgery at 4 hospitals in Reno:  Renown Medical Center, Northern Nevada Medical Center, St. Mary’s, and the new Sierra Medical Center (open Spring 2022).  We also perform procedures at two Outpatient Surgical Centers in the greater Reno area.

How do I learn more about your neurosurgeons or interventional pain management physcians?

Each of our physicians have online profiles, which includes their training, on our website.

How do I learn more about pain management procedures?  

 Visit our website or call us at (775) 323-2080 for detailed information and educational resources on procedures, treatment and our expert medical staff.

What special or unique training do your Pain Management physicians have?

Sierra Neurosurgery Group upholds the highest standards for all our physicians.  Our pain management physicians trained as:

What is Interventional Pain Management?

Interventional Pain Management is a subspecialty that helps diagnose and treat pain related disorders by using various interventions (or injections/procedures). Interventional pain management is a way to help treat chronic and acute pain, manage various pain conditions either before or after surgery, and thus to minimize the use of prescription medications.

This can be done independently as a stand-alone treatment but can often be done in addition to physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic (when appropriate) as well as counseling. 

Interventional techniques are minimally-invasive procedures that can include epidurals or other injections to put steroids or other medications in to a targeted area (usually part of your spine or various joints). Another approach is using needles to destroy the specific nerves that are the source of your pain. There are a few surgical techniques that can be completed as well which can include intrathecal infusion pumps for palliative pain conditions, spinal cord stimulators for intractable pain, dorsal root stimulators, basivertebral nerve ablations and decompression of the spine.  We also use Botox® for migraines and dystonia. 

What is the difference between pain management and interventional pain management? 

Interventional pain management physicians use minimally invasive medical procedures to interrupt or slow the nervous system’s transmission of the pain signals from the nerve endings to the brain. In the case of chronic or severe pain, interventional pain management seeks to disrupt the pain cycle. 

Pain management can include various forms of therapies as well as medications. Medications can include non-controlled substances and in some cases do require the use of controlled substances for calming pain conditions. 

Where can patients have their Pain Management procedures?

We have an in-office procedure suite with fluoroscopy (live x-ray) at our Reno location, or procedures can be done at an outpatient hospital or surgery center. Your insurance may impact where you can go for your procedure. Sierra Neurosurgery Group is happy to discuss your options when your appointment is being scheduled.

Can patients have sedation for Pain Management procedures?

Most procedures can be completed without the need for sedation. However for some patients sedation can help them relax and make the procedure more comfortable. If your procedure is completed in the office we can provide some oral sedation, however, if full sedation is requested then we perform your treatment at an outpatient hospital/surgery center.