Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 3, 2013

OLBH has first brain surgery

Powell performs craniotomies

Staff report
The Independent

RUSSELL — Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital neurosurgeon James Powell, M.D., has begun performing craniotomies at OLBH, marking the first time brain surgeries have been performed at OLBH in the hospital’s 59-year history.

Powell, who has more than 25 years of brain surgery experience, performs the procedure to remove brain tumors, to drain the buildup of fluid inside the skull that leads to brain swelling and to relieve intracranial pressure. A craniotomy is brain surgery where the cranial vault or skull is opened,” Powell said.

“The incision I make during a craniotomy may be small or large depending on the problem. During a craniotomy, I remove a section of skull, known as the skull flap, so that I have access to the brain. Following the procedure, the bone flap is replaced using tiny plates and screws.”

Powell spent nine months providing detailed training and education to OLBH’s surgical staff and the hospital invested $600,000 to purchase the Medtronic Stealth Navigation System, the technology that made craniotomies at the hospital possible. In addition to brain surgery, the new navigation system provides OLBH’s ear, nose and throat physicians a new tool for conducting sinus surgeries.

“We’re very excited to be able to offer brain surgery at OLBH, as it further complements our surgical services,” said Kevin Halter, OLBH CEO.

OLBH has been ranked No. 1 in Kentucky for general surgery for two straight years by Healthgrades, the leading provider of information to help consumers make an informed decision about a physician or hospital.

“The addition of craniotomy is an important milestone in the history of OLBH and a tremendous addition that will greatly benefit the community,” Halter said. “We thank Dr. Powell for his expertise and leadership in this endeavor.”

Powell, who has already conducted three craniotomies at OLBH, earned his medical degree from University of Maryland in Baltimore, where he also completed his physician internship. He completed a residency at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia. He is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons.

Powell practices at Tri-State Christian Neurological Association at 1450 Diederich Blvd.