Close Collaboration Between Physicians at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Neuroscience and Spine Center Helps Missouri City Man Walk Again

Aaron Sammut

Aaron Sammut

The weakness in Aaron Sammut’s legs had progressed so rapidly that he could no longer walk. By the time the 64 year-old Missouri City resident made an appointment with board certified neurologist Larry Tran, MD – one of the specialists at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Neuroscience and Spine Center – he was confined to a wheelchair and was completely dependent on his wife and daughter.

Thanks to a coordinated effort between Dr. Tran and his colleagues at the Neuroscience and Spine Center, Sammut was up and walking before the end of the week. “After an initial examination, it was very apparent that Mr. Sammut had overactive reflexes, which are often caused by damage to the spinal cord,” said Dr. Tran, who quickly scheduled an MRI for Sammut at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. That test showed a dangerous compression of Sammut’s spinal cord in the chest area, caused by a bone spur.

“This was a serious situation that needed immediate attention,” said Dr. Tran. “When you have this level of compression, the risk of permanent paralysis is always present.” That afternoon, Dr. Tran called a colleague at the Neuroscience and Spine Center – board certified neurosurgeon Vincent Wang, MD – and asked him to take the case. Dr. Wang admitted Sammut to Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital immediately, where he started taking medication to reduce the swelling around his spinal cord.

The next day, Dr. Wang performed surgery to remove the bone spur. Two days later, Sammut was up and walking with minimal rehabilitation. Today, he has fully recovered, and the risk of further damage from his spinal compression is resolved. “We went from MRI to surgery in less than 24 hours,” said Dr. Wang. “Dr. Tran didn’t need to search for a surgeon or put the patient through a lengthy referral process. He just picked up the phone and called me. Together, we quickly got the patient back on his feet – literally.”

That level of coordination is key to the expedited care available at the Neuroscience and Spine Center. In addition to close communication between physicians, the Neuroscience and Spine Center has a full-time patient care navigator to help facilitate scheduling and ensure prompt appointments. Most importantly, the Neuroscience and Spine Center has the expertise and capabilities to perform even the most complex procedures.

“Houston Methodist Sugar Land is the only hospital in this area to have a full neuroscience program, and we are backed by the latest technology and outstanding facilities and staff, including specially trained neuroradiologists,” said neurosurgeon Dr. Rajesh Bindal, MD, medical director of the Neuroscience and Spine Center. “We are performing complex, sometimes life-saving procedures right here in Fort Bend every day. And because we work together so well, we can quickly and easily bring in a colleague with a subspecialty that our patients need and collaborate on their treatment. The end result is that our patients receive the best possible care in a comfortable, convenient location that makes it easier to recover.”

Physicians at the Neuroscience and Spine Center specialize in neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedic spine surgery and interventional pain management while offering a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, including Alzheimer’s and memory disorders, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), back and neck pain, brain and spinal tumors, epilepsy and seizures, migraines and headaches, multiple sclerosis, muscle and nerve injuries, Parkinson’s disease, movement disorders, peripheral neuropathy and stroke.

“Much of the care we provide was previously available only in the medical center,” said Dr. Bindal. “Our patients are always grateful to learn that we can help them right here in Fort Bend, and I’m proud that we can offer this level of care to our neighbors.”

“These doctors at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Nueroscience and Spine Center are miracle workers. What can I say? I went in paralyzed and walked out three days later,” said Sammut.

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