Posted by Su Lee

Along with the building expansion at CHA HPMC, slated to open in 2021, we have plans to expand our Neuroscience Institute as a comprehensive brain center. We sat down with Joung Lee, MD and Chief Administrative Officer at CHA HPMC to learn about the expansion plan and its benefits to our community.

What is the current neurosurgery program at CHA HPMC?

Before the arrival of myself and Dr. Sun Lee, CHA HPMC provided community general neurosurgical care. Dr. Sun Lee is a highly sub-specialized surgeon with focus on spine surgery dealing with complex spine disorders. I come from Cleveland Clinic where I founded the skull-based surgery program and headed the program for 21 years. I provide very highly sub-specialized brain surgery and skull-based surgery. We complement each other in providing all facets of neurosurgical care, excluding pediatrics and epilepsy surgery. Before our arrival, the complex cases were referred outside. But now, other than pediatrics and epilepsy, we cover all neurosurgical patients at CHA HPMC.

How do you envision the growth of neurosurgery at CHA HPMC?

One of the areas where we would expand is Endovascular neurosurgery and this is a less invasive way of treating vascular problems such as Aneurysms. In the past, Aneurysms were treated by an open brain surgery and aneurysms were clipped. Now these are done in a less invasive way. The same endovascular surgeons can also treat stroke patients within an hour of stroke onset, if they are presented to our hospital. These specialists would go in with their catheter and retrieval device to retrieve the blood clot and reverse the stroke. With the new hospital that is being built, we are preparing a new suite capable of handling these cases. We have purchased equipment and recruitment efforts are on for a comprehensive stroke center. We will be able to treat stroke patients, ruptured aneurysms, endovascular surgery, and other vascular problems.

What is your vision for the Neuroscience Institute at CHA HPMC?

Our goal is to have one of the top neuroscience programs and compete with highly recognized academic and healthcare institutions. We are adding different building blocks and the next one will be for endovascular neurosurgery. We are also bringing onboard more specialists and have already recruited someone for functional neurosurgery, who would be able to treat Parkinson’s patients. With the opening of new hospital and expansion of existing program, we will be a comprehensive neuroscience program that is competitive in the industry.

How is CHA HPMC’s neurosurgery program different?

The key surgeon’s experience will be our competitive edge. In surgery, the outcome is determined by the individual surgeons and not the buildings or equipment alone. I come with more than three decades of experience from the best hospitals such as Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Sun Lee comes with similar depth of experience from the University Hospital of New Jersey. The two of us are key building blocks and we will recruit more specialists in our team. In the next five years, we will be one of the top neurosurgery programs.

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