Meet Dr. Jonathan White
- Holder of the:
- Birsner Family Professorship in Neurological Surgery
When a disease in the brain needs a neurosurgeon’s touch, there are several possible routes to the problem spot. The surgeon can cut through the skull and access the brain directly. Another way to get to the brain is to follow the same path blood does – through the arteries by threading a wire along an artery from the groin up to the brain (a minimally invasive approach known as endovascular surgery). Finally, when crucial blood vessels are blocked, neurosurgeons can create an alternate route for the blood using bypass techniques – just as cardiac surgeons do for patients with heart disease.
I think the philosophy that’s important is that when it comes down to decision making, the most important thing is to put the patient’s needs first.”
Jonathan White, M.D., is one of a few neurosurgeons who can do all three. After training in traditional open neurosurgical techniques and cerebral bypass, he completed a three-year fellowship in endovascular surgery (also known as interventional neuroradiology). This unusually broad training allows Dr. White plenty of flexibility in choosing the right course for his patients.
In his practice, Dr. White focuses on the treatment of brain aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), and cerebral ischemia. He also cares for patients with normal-pressure hydrocephalus and for patients with chronic facial pain, such as trigeminal neuralgia.
For a great many of these patients, Dr. White’s endovascular toolbox is just right. “For people who are having recurrent TIA [mini-stroke] or stroke symptoms, we have angioplasty and stenting for the intracranial vessels,” he explains. “We have catheters that can inject [the clot-busting drug] tPA when people have acute stroke. We have a microsuction vacuum cleaner to clean out the artery. The most recent generation is a stent that crushes the clot up against the vessel wall. As you pull the stent out, it pulls the clot out with it.” Dr. White also uses endovascular techniques to treat some AVMs and aneurysms.
Not content merely to operate, Dr. White holds a number of leadership roles at UT Southwestern. He has served as the Chief of Medical Staff at the University Hospital and is currently Medical Director of the operating room. As Director of Neurosurgery residency at UT Southwestern, he is in charge of training the next generation of neurosurgeons. In all these roles, Dr. White says, his goal has been “to help improve the patient experience, to improve the quality of care, to decrease complications – and just make that human experience a little better for everybody.”
Neurosurgery for Cerebrovascular Disease
- Arteriovenous malformation (AVM)
- Cerebral aneurysm
- Ischemic stroke
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
- Endovascular neurosurgery
- Open neurosurgery
Cerebral Bypass Surgery
Cranial Nerve Compression Syndromes
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Glossopharyngeal neuralgia
- Hemifacial spasm