MAYWOOD, IL – Neurosurgeon Joseph Serrone, MD, a specialist in minimally invasive endovascular treatments of strokes and other blood vessel disorders of the brain and spinal cord, has joined Loyola Medicine.
Dr. Serrone is part of a new generation of neurosurgeons who are using catheter systems to repair aneurysms, open clogged arteries, extract blood clots and repair blood vessel malformations. These endovascular techniques are much less invasive than open brain surgery, which involves cutting an opening in the skull.
Dr. Serrone is trained to perform open surgery when endovascular surgery is not possible. With his dual training in open and endovascular surgery, Dr. Serrone can offer patients the safest and most effective treatment options for complex neurovascular disease.
Dr. Serrone also uses both endovascular and open surgery techniques to open clogged carotid arteries in the neck.
“This is a very exciting time in the field,” Dr. Serrone said. “As devices and endovascular techniques continue to improve, we are able to treat more patients with minimally invasive techniques, with better outcomes.”
For example, endovascular devices called stent retrievers enable Dr. Serrone to minimize the effects of ischemic strokes in patients who arrive at the hospital within six hours. (An ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot that blocks blood flow to a part of the brain.) Dr. Serrone inserts a catheter in the patient’s groin and guides the thin tube through various blood vessels up to the brain. Once the catheter reaches the blockage, Dr. Serrone deploys a stent retriever. The device grabs the clot, which is pulled out as Dr. Serrone removes the catheter. Dr. Serrone also uses a device that suctions out the clot, like a mini vacuum cleaner.
Dr. Serrone also treats brain aneurysms with endovascular techniques. An aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel that is at risk of leaking or rupturing, resulting in brain damage. Dr. Serrone guides a catheter to the aneurysm and releases tiny coils of platinum wire into the bulge. The aneurysm fills up with coils, causing blood to clot. This effectively seals off the aneurysm.
Most aneurysms don’t need to be treated because they still are small enough that there is a minimal risk of rupture. One of Dr. Serrone’s areas of research is determining through periodic MRIs when an aneurysm grows large enough that it should be treated.
Dr. Serrone is an assistant professor in the department of neurological surgery of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. He earned his medical degree from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, graduating summa cum laude. He completed a residency in neurosurgery and a fellowship in endovascular/cerebrovascular surgery at the University of Cincinnati. He completed a fellowship in cerebrovascular/skull base surgery at Helsinki University Central Hospital.
Before joining Loyola, Dr. Serrone was an attending neurosurgeon at Virginia Mason Medical Center.