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HEALTHBEAT 4: Pediatric Neurosurgery

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DAKOTA DUNES, SD (KTIV) -- Treating the youngest patients. That's what pediatric neurosurgeons do. Under that umbrella, falls a number of surgical procedures related to the nervous system, brain, and spinal cord.

Now, parents and patients have a closer option for those procedures and followups at CNOS.

"It's really kind of the gamut of neurosurgery just in a tinnier population," said Linden Fornoff, CNOS Pediatric Neurosurgeon.

Fornoff sees some of the smallest patients with often some of the most serious problems.

“And we encompass kind of everything, spine, brain, peripheral nerves, trauma, abnormal growth of the skull," said Fornoff.

Because they're treating the youngest patients, it can be hard for children to express what is bothering them. So what should parents be on the lookout for? Dr. Fornoff said any type of regression in milestones.

"If the little babe starts walking at 14 months and then at 2 years of age they're really just kind of bringing their legs up, it's really painful for them to sit in a car seat for an extended period of time, or they're getting fussier," said Fornoff.

She said when working with kids, you have to change your mindset.

“To be an adult neurosurgeon you might do a spinal fusion and put rods and screws in somebody, but in a kid, you don’t want to do that because they're going to be growing," said Fornoff. "You don’t want to limit any of that. So you kind of have to think a different way for kids.”

Dr. Fornoff said for parents and patients, having this option now at CNOS is extremely important.

“Anything that we can do to keep everything local or as close as possible in a safe manner is wonderful," said Fornoff.

Dr. Fornoff said it's important for doctors to pay attention to behavioral changes. That’s because many times kids don’t talk about what's bothering them, so doctors have to pick up on other cues. One example of that is if the child isn't following the doctors with their eyes the way they want, it could indicate something more serious.

Michaela Feldmann

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