Tulane Opens New Spine Center

The center, designed to handle the most complex kinds of spine surgeries, joins a small army of brain and spinal care providers in the area.

On February 23, the Tulane University Medical Group, a physicians group that employs the doctors at Tulane Medical Center, opened the Tulane Orthopaedic Spine Center at East Jefferson General Hospital’s campus at 4300 Houma Blvd. The clinic, for the moment, is the sole home of Dr. Bruce Senter, orthopaedic and spine surgeon and assistant professor at the Tulane School of Medicine. Dr. Senter specializes in specific and complex spine surgeries, often the kind nobody else will take.

“This move represents new expertise coming into Jefferson Parish,” says Ed Leonard, administrator for the orthopaedic department at Tulane University School of Medicine. “We have avoided Jefferson Parish in the past because we felt it was already so well served, but the market has shifted now and we felt we needed to be out there competing.”

Leonard says the new spine center also fills a gap for Tulane orthopaedics.

- Sponsors -

“We’ve done, and continue to do a lot of orthopaedic work at Tulane Lakeside Hospital for Women and Children, but we don’t currently have ICU or inpatient capacity yet at Lakeside,” he says. “This center will give us that. Currently, Dr. Senter will be operating out of the center once a week, but we definitely have the capacity to expand that in the future.”

Dr. Felix “Buddy” Savoie, chairman of orthopaedic surgery at Tulane, called the new center, “the pride and joy of the Tulane Orthopaedic Group,” adding “we get a lot of patients from Metairie and it can be a challenge for them to come Downtown, so we figured we’d come to them.”

In addition to the new Spine Center, Dr. Senter also works at Tulane’s General Orthopaedic Clinic at the Tulane Medical Center Downtown, which opened last fall. He will be joined in September by another physician, Dr. Matt Cyriac.

- Partner Content -

Sunni LeBeouf

Black History Month Spotlight This Black History Month, Cox Communications is proud to recognize Sunni LeBeouf for her prolific record of professional achievement, civic philanthropy,...

Dr. Senter says the Center of Excellence Spine Center office — working title for the new office — will eventually evolve into a spine referral site. One of the areas Senter specializes in is degenerative spinal conditions and conditions like scoliosis and birth deformities. “Some of these cases can be challenging,” he says, “especially those in patients who have previously had multiple procedures, but it is important to assess if surgery is needed or not. Surgery is not always the answer, but when it is, there is some interesting stuff out there now to help patients.”

Spinal disorders can involve chronic degenerative conditions; scoliosis and spondylolisthesis, tumors of the bone, spinal cord, or nerve roots and acute fractures of the spine with or without spinal cord injury. “Treatment of these conditions involves the expertise of not only surgeons, but also physical therapists — therapy needs to be specialized to each patient’s needs,” Senter says.

While Dr. Senter’s work focuses strictly on the spine and neck, the full spectrum of neurosurgical disorders includes: cerebrovascular disease and stroke, spine disorders, brain and spine tumors, movement disorders, epilepsy, congenital disorders and peripheral nerve disease.

- Sponsors -


BIALA’s 10th annual conference took place March 10 and 11 at the Crowne Plaza New Orleans – Airport.

To this end, Tulane surgeons have been involved in the development of many new technologies and have led or conducted clinical trials and studies concerning stroke and cerebral vascular disorders on national and international levels.

Tulane’s state-of-the-art facilities include a biplane hybrid room where a patient can undergo an angiogram (to diagnose their condition) followed by treatment with either minimally invasive endovascular therapy (for example, coiling of a brain aneurysm), or open microsurgery (for example, clipping of a brain aneurysm) in the same room, with the same team during the same session.

New Orleans is also fortunate to have a very unique resource — the Brain Injury Association of Louisiana (BIALA) — headquartered on 8325 Oak Street. BIALA, in partnership with the Louisiana chapter of the United Spinal Association, is an affiliate of the Brain Injury Association of America, the oldest and largest nationwide brain injury advocacy group. BIALA actively serves brain and spinal cord injury survivors and families.

“Our organization is ‘the’ resource that anyone with a brain or spinal injury should turn to because of our meaningful affiliations and commitment to advocating for them on a local, state and national level,” said Kathleen Mulvihill, BIALA director of development. “We provide referrals and resources to survivors, families, caregivers and other professionals. We are the only chapter that runs a 24-hour hotline to assist survivors and families, as well as providing aid and resources to 10 support groups throughout the state.”

BIALA serves 28 to 50 people monthly through its hotline and 150 individuals through its support groups each month. The group’s newly-launched website, biala.org, serves as a resource to anyone who has been touched by a brain or spinal cord injury.

The website includes interactive features, detailed information about head and spinal cord injury, educational materials, and local events. “For the past 10 years, we have hosted an annual conference to bring together survivors, caregivers, families, vendors and professionals across the state to discuss the latest advancements and therapeutic practices and educational sessions. This year the conference was in March and included workshops for survivors such as art and music therapy and a panel for adaptive sports as well as access to meaningful employment.”

According to the BIALA, spinal cord injury occurs when there is any damage to the spinal cord that blocks communication between the brain and the body. After a spinal cord injury, a person’s sensory, motor and reflex messages are affected and may not be able to get past the damage in the spinal cord. Generally speaking, the higher on the spinal cord the injury occurs, the more likely the person will experience dysfunction. Injuries are referred to as complete or incomplete, based on whether any movement or sensation occurs at or below the level of injury.

“The most important, and sometimes frustrating, thing to keep in mind is that each person’s recovery from spinal cord injury is different.” Mulvihill said. “Every person’s experience is different and unique and needs to be treated that way.”

Examples of some of the treatments provided by Tulane Neurosurgery include: treatment of scoliosis and spondylolisthesis, microsurgical discectomy both cervical and lumbar, spinal fusion and stabilization, cervical disc arthroplasty, minimally invasive options (including discectomy and fusion), lymphoblast and vertebroiliac and spinal cord stimulators.

Tulane’s surgeons are also involved in expanding therapies for the treatment of these disorders by offering minimally invasive treatment options like disc replacement instead of fusion in appropriate candidates. They are also actively involved in research on areas such as spinal cord injury and regeneration.

Fast Facts

Leading causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

• Falls — account for 40 percent of all injuries

• Being hit by an object or blunt trauma

• Motor vehicle crashes

• Assault

Source: Centers for Disease Control

In Additional

More Local Brain and Spine Centers

Southern Brain and Spine
Offices in Metairie, Covington, Laplace and Touro Hospital

Ochsner Back and Spine Center
2820 Napoleon Ave.

Tulane Neuroscience Center
1415 Tulane Ave.

Digital Sponsors / Become a Sponsor

Follow the issues, companies and people that matter most to business in New Orleans.

Email Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter