Southcoast Brain & Spine Center: Cutting-Edge Technology and Holistic Approach Set Standard for Neurological Care in Southeastern MA

Southcoast Hospitals Group in southeastern Massachusetts has long been recognized for its outstanding neurosurgery services.

With the addition of staff and a new patient care paradigm, the new Southcoast Brain & Spine Center in Dartmouth, MA — with satellite locations in Fall River and Wareham — is once again defining the standard of care for patients who have neurological disorders by focusing on the whole patient.

The recent change of the name of the center to the Southcoast Brain & Spine Center reflects the change in the model of care. The new model focuses on the multidisciplinary care provided to patients and their conditions, rather than on any specific medical procedure.

The center offers surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients with neurological brain and spine disorders. Specialists in neurosurgery, neurology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, physical therapy, pain management, and chiropractic treatment work as a team to provide patients the most comprehensive care available.

As part of Southcoast Health System — the region’s largest health care network — the center has a seamless link to the three Southcoast hospitals, oncology services, home care and more, as well as organizations that specialize in neurological conditions. These relationships enable the team to provide patients a continuum of treatment that goes well beyond the office visit or hospital stay, and provides an improved quality of life for patients and their families.

“We try to direct patients to exactly where they need to go when they are first referred, whether it is to a neurologist, a neurosurgeon, a physiatrist or another service,” says neurosurgeon Matthew Philips, M.D., of Southcoast Neurosurgery, who practices with partners Alvin Marcovici, M.D., and Michael Harrison, M.D. “When a patient arrives at the center, he or she is seen by the appropriate physician at the appropriate time and is not inundated with unnecessary consultant visits or testing. We maximize the patient’s care, making it more efficient and cost-effective.”

Technology as a Tool

Southcoast Neurosurgery uses the most advanced image-guided surgical navigation systems available to undertake microsurgery of the brain and spine; craniotomy; endoscopic brain surgery; spinal fusions with implantable cages, plates and screws; and minimally invasive surgeries.

“Our intraoperative monitoring system gives us the vital precision needed in surgery on the delicate tissues and nerve pathways of the brain and spine,” says Dr. Harrison. “This allows us to provide our patients with an accurate diagnosis, greater safety, less trauma and shorter recovery times.”

Southcoast Brain & Spine Center also offers stereotactic radiosurgery, one of the most precise forms of radiation therapy used to nonsurgically treat tumors in the brain. “The precision offered allows us to preserve healthy tissue by delivering targeted radiation, with the help of three-dimensional imaging technology, at much higher doses than traditional radiation therapy,” says Dr. Harrison.

State-of-the-Art Care in a Community Hospital

Southcoast Hospitals Group, which has three campuses in Fall River, New Bedford and Wareham, is able to provide this state-of-the-art care in a community hospital setting. The Southcoast Brain & Spine Center functions as a gateway to care and now has a formalized institutional development plan.

“We can offer our community the best care that is currently available in neurosurgery,” says Dr. Marcovici. “Care is literally available at a moment’s notice for head trauma and other urgent spinal cord cases, as well as stroke and neurological disorders. These patients no longer have to travel to Boston or Providence for their care. We can see them here and treat them here. Southcoast has made this commitment.”

The level of care offered at the Southcoast Brain & Spine Center compares favorably to larger institutions, and the ability to treat patients in a community setting close to home can make a real difference. The physicians have a high level of training and expertise, which results in continuity of care and positive outcomes.

“We can do essentially any neurosurgical procedure here, at St. Luke’s or at Charlton Memorial with exceptional outcomes and the highest standard of care offered at any other institution,” says Dr. Marcovici. “When a patient is admitted to one of the Southcoast hospitals, the person who is taking care of him or her — whether it is the doctor, the nurse, or support staff — is essentially that patient’s neighbor. Their children are probably playing together at the same school. They are likely to see each other again at the same restaurant in town. It is a different level of care that is rooted in the community.”

Treating the Whole Patient

“By having physicians who each have specialized experience, we are able to provide care for a wide range of conditions,” says Bruce Abbott, M.D., of Southcoast Neurology.

“A private doctor in an office-based practice might see patients with various conditions, precluding him from specializing in any one area. By hiring an adequate number of inpatient and outpatient doctors, along with support staff and ancillary services, we can administer the kind of comprehensive services that cannot be provided in any other setting.”

By proving quality, state-of-the-art care in a comfortable community hospital setting and adding the ancillary services that improve the quality of patients’ lives, the Southcoast Brain & Spine Center is defining a new standard of neurological patient care.

For more information about the Southcoast Brain & Spine Center, please call (508) 993-3555 or visit




MD News November/December 2011, South of Boston



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