VACAVILLE — When Kaiser Permanente Vacaville Medical Center began offering level III trauma services in October 2011, plans were already being made to launch a robust and comprehensive neurosurgery program at the facility.
“Trauma services and neurosurgery go hand in hand,” said Dr. Steven Stricker, physician-in-chief for Kaiser Permanente in the Napa-Solano area. “We knew we would eventually seek designation as a level II trauma center, and neurosurgery is a critical component of that.”
But it takes more than just one neurosurgeon to care for the estimated 50 trauma patients with critical head or spine injuries in Solano County each year. It takes experience to build specialty in neurosurgery, and that level of expertise can’t be supported by trauma work alone, Stricker said.
“At Kaiser Permanente, our neurosurgeons also have elective patient work to support and refine their expertise when they aren’t working on trauma cases,” he said. “Ours is the only program in Solano County to offer this depth and expertise, with surgeons performing elective cases and continually honing their skills for when an emergency strikes.”
Kaiser Permanente’s neurosurgery program is supported by the latest technologies, allowing the health care company to provide highly specialized care using the least invasive techniques, helping its patients be more comfortable and recover more quickly. This includes a multimillion-dollar investment in the O-ARM Imaging System and StealthStation surgical navigation system, which brings imaging technology in to the operating suite, eliminating the need for a patient to stop in radiology before surgery.
Kaiser Permanente is the only hospital in Solano County with this technology.
“This is amazing technology that gives the surgeon real-time information as they prepare to operate,” Stricker said. “It allows us to operate in a less invasive way, which benefits the patient with better outcomes and reduced recovery time.”
Kaiser Permanente’s neurosurgery program is expected to treat approximately 500 patients per year, with about 50 of those being related to trauma care.
“Kaiser Permanente’s unique, integrated system allows us to implement high-tech, highly complicated specialized programs like this one,” said Max Villalobos, senior vice president and hospital administrator. “We’re also fortunate to have a large pool of top-notch physician specialists and supportive staff who continue to advance the level of care we are able to offer the people of Solano County.”
Katie Minke is communications manager for Kaiser Permanente in Vacaville.