Adam P. Smith, MD, FAANS is a board certified neurosurgeon and Rocky Mountain Brain & Spine Institute is his business providing neurosurgical information to the community. He is committed to the wellness of the patients he treats. Dr. Smith uses minimally invasive surgical approaches for the brain and spine, and uses the most up-to-date neuroimaging, surgical navigation, robotic and artificial intelligence modalities.

Adjacent Levels

No matter what type of spine surgery I discuss with patients, the most frequent question is, “If I get surgery now, won’t I just keep needing more surgery for the rest of my life?” The answer is possibly “yes”, but not why most patients think… The first concept needing belaboring is that disc degeneration is…

It’s Not Brain Surgery…

In 2002, a University of Wisconsin study published data on the average intelligence quotient (IQ) of various occupations. Medical doctors and natural scientists were among the top. Of course, the researchers graciously included “college professors” too. What a coincidence… However, where did the idiom, “It’s not brain surgery” originate? It may have started around the…

The Brains of the Sea

The Brains of the Sea

Most of the earth’s surface is ocean, and many major animal groups that exist today originated in the sea.  Yet only 15% of animals live in the ocean, while 80% live on land.  Quite a weird statistic, raising the question if aquatic animals are evolutionarily inferior? The neuroanatomy of some saltwater dwellers may actually suggest…

Awake Neurosurgery

Awake Neurosurgery

It may shock some, but the first neurological surgeries were performed at least semi-awake. As we discussed in prior blogs, Mesoamerican trephinations likely only used coca and wild tobacco. Maize beer may have limited pain. But even more, recent procedures, as modern neurosurgical techniques emerged in the late 1800s, weren’t all too different. Nitrous oxide…

Patient Preference Regarding Invasiveness

Lumbar decompression for sciatica is a very common procedure, being performed over 480,000 times per year in the United States. Traditionally, decompression was performed as an “open” approach. During “open” decompression, often a multi-inch incision is made, the large back muscles are elevated off the spine, bone is removed, and the nerves are decompressed. However…

Predicting Aneurysms

Predicting Aneurysms

Most brain aneurysms are thought to be congenital, meaning people are likely born with them. A weak point in the blood vessel wall allows an outpouching which can stay dormant or burst. About 5% of people have an aneurysm, however many are unaware since symptoms may not develop until rupture. Warning signs are often subtle…

Gait Analysis1

Gait Analysis

On November 19, 2021, the current health summary of President Biden was released by Dr. Kevin O’Connor, DO, the physician of the President. Of note, the current White House physician (who is not the Surgeon General) was Dr. Biden’s personal physician prior to taking office. It is very unusual for the President’s previous PCP to…