Symptoms of a Stroke

F.A.S.T. Stroke Symptoms

Ramin Rak breaks down the F.A.S.T. stroke symptoms.

Ramin Rak practices his advanced knowledge of microneurosurgical techniques at Neurological Surgery P.C. on Long Island.

Here, he specializes in awake craniotomies, spinal surgeries, skull-based surgeries, and treatment of tumors.

More information on these complex procedures can be accessed through his Pinterest page.

A stroke is caused by a disturbance in the blood supply and results in the loss of function.

An ischemic stroke is caused by a clot that obstructs blood flow, while a hemorrhagic stroke is a result of a rupturing blood vessel. A transient ischemic attack can also occur, which is essentially a mini stroke caused by a temporary clot. Both types of strokes are extremely serious, as they are the number four cause of death, and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States.

According to strokeassociation.org, F.A.S.T is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of a stroke:

  • Face Drooping- If one side of your face is drooping or your smile is uneven, it could indicate a stroke.
  • Arm Weakness- When one arm is weak, numb, or drifts downward when your arms are raised, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Speech Difficulty- If someone is struggling to form words or unable to repeat a simple sentence, a stroke may be the cause.
  • Time to call 911- If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately, even if the symptoms go away.

Beyond these core symptoms, a person may also present numbness of the leg, arm or face; trouble seeing; an unexplained sudden, severe headache; dizziness or loss of coordination; and confusion or trouble understanding.

Quick stroke treatment can save lives, so it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you have shown any of the above symptoms. After a doctor makes a diagnosis, they will begin a treatment plan specific to the cause of the stroke.

Skull Base Surgery

Ramin Rak is a board-certified neurosurgeon with years of experience specializing in complex tumors, spine treatments, awake craniotomies, and skull base surgeries.

Skull base surgery is a specialized type of surgery performed to treat tumors and other diseases occurring in certain areas of the skull such as behind the eyes or in the nasal cavity. The skull is made up of bones and cartilage, forming the face and the cranium. The bones that form the base of the cranium also form the eye socket, some of the sinuses, the roof of the nasal cavity, as well as the bones surrounding the inner ear. The base of the skull is a very complex area where many vital parts of the body pass through including blood vessels, nerves, and the spinal cord.

Ramin Rak | Skull Base Surgery

Ramin Rak uses the latest in minimally invasive techniques to perform skull base surgery.

Skull Base Surgery requires a multidisciplinary approach often involving ear, nose, and throat surgeons, neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, oncologists, and other specialists. There are two main ways to perform skull base surgery. It may be done through a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure. This involves making a small incision through the natural openings of the skull, normally the nose or mouth. A small hole may also be made just above the eyebrow. Through this method, a neurosurgeon is able to remove the growth through a thin lighted tube referred to as an endoscope. An MRI picture of the skull base will usually be taken during this process to ensure that the entire growth has been removed successfully. The second way to perform skull base surgery is often referred to as traditional or open skull base surgery. This procedure requires making an opening in the skull. Parts of bone may be removed in order to reach the growth and have it properly removed.

Listed below are some of the common growths and conditions that may be treated with skull base surgery:

  • Growths caused by infections
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Sinus tumors
  • Glomus tumors
  • Cysts developed from birth
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leak
  • Meningiomas
  • Chordomas
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Acoustic neuroma

Good Bedside Manner

Bedside Manors Ramin Rak is a leading Neurosurgeon with a long history of expert specialties and training in micro-neurosurgical procedures. He has performed countless surgeries, and specialized in highly-complex awake craniotomies, skull-based surgeries, spine treatments and tumors. Ramin Rak attended the Free University of Brussels for his medical degree, and previous to this, for his undergraduate degree with high honors in Medical Basic Sciences. Ramin Rak has, since this time, gained a considerable amount of training, expertise, which has helped him gain effective bedside manner. While the actual procedural and administrative aspects of a successful surgery are vital to a smooth surgery for a patient, knowing what a good bedside manner is and how to employ it, is arguably just as important. Here are some tips for gaining and employing a good bedside manner to quell fears in your patients and make the entire process as comfortable and positive as possible.

  1.       Mind Your Manners: First rule of thumb in presenting the best bedside manner-which should be included in any profession- is using good manners at all times, with the necessary please and thank yous, as well as an overall gesture of respect.
  2.       Professionalism: As a doctor, you should always be well-groomed, confident, assured, and knowledgeable.
  3.       Familiarity: Make sure that you patients feel like you care about them specifically, You may deal with 100 patients a day, but you should address each singularly with names, histories, and the care that each patient deserves. Doing so will bring more comfort to each patient more than you might think.
  4.       Listening: Yes-you are the more knowledgeable about medicine in the room, probably, but listening to what your patients are feeling, their fears, symptoms, and questions is a vital part both to better understanding how to best treat them, but also, how to make them feel like an important part of the process (and they are).

Learn more about Ramin Rak on his About.me page.

Meningitis Symptoms

Thank you for visiting my (Dr. Ramin Rak’s) medical blog!

Today we will be going over the life-threatening condition known as meningitis.

Meningitis SymptomsThe swelling many times identified with Meningitis triggers the early symptoms of fever, headache, and sore neck.

In many cases, the reason for meningitis stems from viral infections.

However, sometimes bacterial and fungal infections can cause meningitis. Depending upon the cause of the inflammation and the associated infection, meningitis conditions can be as simple as waiting a few days, or in some severe cases, can require immediate emergency care. People experiencing symptoms of meningitis are encouraged to see a doctor as soon as possible to safeguard against life threatening conditions.

Meningitis is fought off by antibacterial medication.

Early treatment of bacterial meningitis can prevent serious complications. I urge anyone experiencing the following symptoms to seek medical care immediately. Visit http://about.me/DrRaminRak for more info about my medical background.

  • Sudden high fever
  • Severe headache that isn’t easily confused with other types of headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Vomiting or nausea with headache
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating
  • Seizures
  • Sleepiness or difficulty waking up
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Lack of interest in drinking and eating
  • Skin rash in some cases, such as in meningococcal meningitis

Symptoms in newborn babies are presented differently.

Please be on the lookout for these symptoms of early meningitis. If your newborn baby diagnosed with meningitis, I recommend parents seek professional counseling simultaneously with the newborn’s treatment and recovery period. The inability to comfort the newborn mentally can be burdening to any parent.

Look for these early signs:

  • High fever
  • Constant crying
  • Excessive sleepiness or irritability
  • Inactivity or sluggishness
  • Poor feeding
  • A bulge in the soft spot on top of a baby’s head (fontanel)
  • Stiffness in a baby’s body and neck

Always seek medical care first before self-prescribing medications.

Any of the listed symptoms could be signs of many of other medical conditions.  A misdiagnosis could lead to life-threatening implications. Visit my website or Tumblr for more information.

 

Neurological Complications of Lyme Disease

Neurological Complications of Lyme Disease

Ramin Rak explains the Neurological complications of Lyme Disease.

As a highly skilled board certified neurosurgeon, Ramin Rak has treated a number of conditions involving both the spine and brain.

At Neurological Surgery, P.C., located on Long Island, he has come across a number of cases of Lyme disease. With the condition on the rise, it is important to know how lyme disease is contracted and the damaging effects it can have. More tips like these can be found on Ramin Rak’s twitter feed.

According to an article from Stony Brook Medicine, Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacterium, spirochete.

It is transmitted by deer ticks, which are found throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. A tick bite, though painless, can cause arthritic complications, as well as neurological and cardiac problems. The longer the tick is attached, the greater risk of Lyme disease transmission.

The symptoms and severity of Lyme disease can vary from person to person.

The most common symptom is a rash, which eventually grows into a bulls-eye shaped ring. Flu like symptoms are also possible, including headache, aching muscles, fatigue, chills, and fever. If treated properly, the complications may end there. Unfortunately, if the tick goes unnoticed, a persons first symptoms may be arthritic, neurological, or cardiac.

Arthritic complications due to Lyme disease include general achiness, pain, and swelling in the joints.

Neurological problems consist of meningitis, memory loss, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, bell’s palsy, and encephalitis. Most patients with flu like symptoms can be completely cured with antibiotics but those with arthritic or neurological symptoms require a more vigorous treatment.

Protect yourself from ticks by:

  • Applying tick repellants
  • Shampoo and shower after being in the woods
  • Keep long hair tucked away
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants
  • Check yourself occasionally
  • More tips on how to defend yourself against ticks can be found here.

Learn more about Ramin Rak and the services he provides by visiting wordpress.com.

Treasurer of the Suffolk County Medical Society

Dr. Ramin RakSuffolk County Medical Center Banner, M.D., is a highly qualified neurosurgeon, specializing in brain and spinal surgeries.

He is an expert in intraoperative brain mapping, which he uses to plan and guide his surgeries. This allows him to understand each patient’s brain more thoroughly when performing awake craniotomy operations, which are necessary in order to avoid touching brain areas that control critical functions. His expertise in minimally invasive micro-neurosurgical techniques and awake craniotomies has established him as a highly sought out surgeon throughout Long Island and New York City.  In addition, it enabled him to land a position as treasurer of the Suffolk County Medical Society.

Ramin Rak speaks highly of the organization and is thrilled to have been chosen to serve in the position.

The society is the premier professional medical association for physicians in Suffolk County and works toward upholding the highest standards when it comes to the medical profession. In an article on BusByway.com, he states, “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Medical Society Board to help uphold the highest standards for the medical profession.”

His newly established position adds to his impressive contributions to the medical community.

Currently, he acts as Director of the Brain Tumor Program at NS-LIJ Huntington Hospital, as well as Co-Surgical Director and Director of the Awake Craniotomy and Brain Mapping Program of the Long Island Brain Tumor Center at Neurological Surgery, P.C. (NSPC). He is also a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, and serves on the Executive Board of the Society for Brain Mapping & Therapeutics. The latter affords him the opportunity to network with more than 200,000 scientists, physicians, engineers, and surgeons worldwide.

His success and dedication to the field makes Ramin Rak a worthy choice for the prestigious and honorable treasurer position. His term will begin July 1, 2014.

Learn more about Ramin Rak by visiting Certified Consumer Reviews, or by visiting his LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/raminrak.

Symptoms of Brain Aneurysms

Brain Aneurysm

Brain Aneurysms are one of many conditions that Dr. Ramin Rak treats.

Ramin Rak is a Board Certified neurosurgeon with Neurological Surgery. P.C.

He is highly skilled at treating a number of conditions involving the brain and spine, including Aneurysms. A brain aneurysm is a weak area in the artery wall, comparable to a thin balloon. Over time, blood flow pounds on these weakened areas and the artery wall becomes thinner and swells outward.

Statistics from the Brain Aneurysm Foundation show that an estimated 6 millions people in the United States have an un-ruptured brain aneurysm, or 1 in 50 people.

Certain factors can increase your risk of developing an aneurysm, including aging, hardening of the arteries, family history, race, gender, high blood pressure, and smoking.

Unfortunately, brain aneurysms that are un-ruptured are typically asymptomatic since they are so small in size.

Larger un-ruptured aneurysms, however, can press on the brain or nerves, causing various neurological symptoms such as:

  • Localized Headache
  • Weakness and numbness
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Pain above and behind eye
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Dilated pupils

When a brain aneurysm ruptures, it causes bleeding into the subarachnoid space, otherwise known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

As the blood seeps into the skull, sudden symptoms can occur all at once that require immediate medical attention. These include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting/Nausea
  • Stiff Neck
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Dizziness or sudden trouble walking
  • Sudden numbness and weakness
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Sudden blurred or double vision
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Sudden pain above/behind the eye or difficulty seeing
  • Sudden change in mental status or awareness
  • Seizure

A ruptured brain aneurysm can cause a stroke, brain damage, or even death.

Approximately 15% of patients that suffer from subarachnoid hemorrhage die before reaching the hospital, while four out of seven who recover are faced with disabilities. Though the statistics are grim, Dr. Ramin Rak and the skilled surgeons at Neurological Surgery, P.C. are able to administer advanced surgical treatment to provide patients with the best care possible.

 

Related Article: http://raminrak.com/aneurysm-coiling/

Glioblastoma

GBM

Glioblastoma in an x-ray. (Source: Wikipedia.org)

Hello again, this is Ramin Rak, back with another post about a medical procedure I performed at Neurological Surgery, P.C. in Long Island.

I specialize in treating disorders related to the brain and spine, and recently removed a glioblastoma multiforme tumor during a high-profile surgery.

Glioblastomas (GBM) are tumors found in the cerebral hemisphere or spinal cord.

These tumors are highly cancerous due to their ability to reproduce cells quickly. In addition, they are supported by a large network of blood vessels. The cause of these tumors are unknown but due to their rapid growth, symptoms commonly involve pressure on the brain. Headache, vomiting, nausea, and drowsiness are the most common.  Treating GBM is very difficult because these tumors contain many different types of cells. Furthermore, the network of tentacles in the brain make it extremely difficult to remove these tumors without affecting the patient’s language and coordination. For these reasons, your surgeon may decide to combine several approaches to treat your GBM.

Recently, Donald Squire, 52, of East Northport was diagnosed with a GBM that required surgery.

His only symptom was a twitching in one of his eyes. His wife suspected a stroke but brain scans revealed that the twitching was due to a tumor. Fortunately, I was able to use proprietary technology to enter the inner labyrinths of his brain and remove the tumor. To reach the tumor, I used brain-mapping technology and neuronavigation, which made it possible to move eloquently throughout the delicate areas of his brain. The patient was awake during surgery in order for me to monitor his language, vision, and speech. After the surgery, I had concerns that Squire might lose some of his peripheral vision, but he hasn’t noticed any changes. Squire is very fortunate to have had access to this technology, as not too long ago, this area of his brain would have been unreachable using conventional techniques.

You can learn more about Squire’s procedure here: http://grow-your-practice.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Dr-Rak-Newsday-062213.pdf

 

Thanks for reading,

Ramin Rak

You can learn more about me and my specialties in the Commack Patch, or by connecting with me on Doctor’s Hangout: www.doctorshangout.com/profile/DrRaminRakMD

Traumatic Brain Injury

Hello again, Ramin Rak here, welcoming you back to my blog.

As a spine and brain specialist, I deal with an increasingly large number of patients who suffer from traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

Ramin Rak's symptoms of TBI

Ramin Rak recommends seeking medical help if you experience any of these symptoms taking a blow to the head.

According to the CDC, TBI contributes to a substantial number of deaths or permanent disability annually.

A TBI occurs when an individual experiences trauma to the head that disrupts the brain’s normal function. The severity of a TBI can vary from mild to severe, but experts like myself encourage patients to treat all forms of TBI very seriously.

Perhaps the most common type of TBI is a concussion. While they are not typically life threatening, their effects can be serious. The CDC recommends contacting a health care professional if you begin to experience any of the following after a blow to the head:

  • Headache that won’t go away
  • Decreased coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Lose consciousness
  • Unusual behavior

With proper treatment, it is unlikely a concussion will have a lasting effect. Contrary, there are two types of TBI that have the potential to cause long terms effects and even death. Closed head injuries, often due to falls or vehicle crashes, occur when the brain moves within the skill.  Penetrating injuries occur when an object enters the skull, such as firearm injuries. Statistics show that after a severe TBI, 43% of patients hospitalized suffer from short or long term issues a year later. These can include:

  • Loss of cognitive function, such as memory and attention.
  • Loss of motor function, including weakness and poor coordination.
  • Sensation; for example impaired perception, hearing, or vision.
  • Emotional changes, including depression, aggression, and lack of impulse control.

The consequences of a severe TBI can affect an individual’s life, but there are steps that can be taken to limit the injuries impact. The CDC recommends primary intervention, early management, and treatment of severe TBI for best results.

Learn more about me, Ramin Rak, and my unique skill sets here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/raminrak, and here http://raminrak.com/ramin-rak-traumatic-brain-injury-treatments/.

 

Aneurysm Coiling

Hi all, Ramin Rak here with another blog post about a complicated neurosurgical procedure I perform at Neurological Surgery, P.C.: aneurysm coiling.

I primarily treat conditions in the brain and spine so I only perform aneurysm coiling to address brain aneurysms. Endovascular aneurysm coiling is one of two techniques (along with open surgical clipping) that can be used to treat brain aneurysms, but sometimes a physician will choose to closely observe an aneurysm instead of recommending one of these two treatments.

Aneurysm coiling is a minimally invasive endovascular procedure performed to treat an aneurysm, which is a balloon-like bulge of an artery wall (learn more).

As an aneurysm grows, it will thin and weaken until it becomes so thin that it leaks or ruptures. A ruptured aneurysm will release blood into the space around the brain, called a subarachnoid hemorrhage, and is life threatening. Treatment involves stopping blood from flowing into the aneurysm but still allowing blood to flow freely through the normal arteries. While open surgical clipping accomplishes this from the outside, aneurysm coiling does so from the inside.

Ramin Rak Aneurysm Coiling

This diagram depicts the insertion of small platinum coils into the aneurysm using a catheter

I begin the procedure by giving the patient anesthesia while they are on the x-ray table.

Next, I locate the femoral artery and use a needle to insert a long plastic tube (the catheter) into the bloodstream. Dye is then injected through the catheter to make blood vessels visible on my x-ray monitor, allowing me to guide the catheter to one of four arteries in the neck that lead to the brain. After the catheter is placed, I take x-ray photos and use them to take measurements of the aneurysm.

A second smaller catheter travels through the first catheter and makes its way to the aneurysm itself.

Small platinum coils are then passed through the catheter until they emerge in the aneurysm, and this process continues until the aneurysm is completely packed with coils. I then inject contrast agent so that I can confirm that blood is no longer flowing into the aneurysm and finally close the puncture site in the artery.

Endovascular aneurysm coiling has a long-term success rate between 80 and 85%.

Thanks for reading,

Ramin Rak

Learn more about my specialized neurosurgical procedures on Brand Yourself: http://raminrak.brandyourself.com/ or visit my WordPress blog.