ONE OF MY TOUGHEST CASES: The Man With The Mysterious Pain
Najeeb Thomas, M.D.
Craig Mulcahy photo
Southern Brain and Spine
4770 S. Interstate 10 Service Road, Suite 110
12 years in practice
M.D. LSU Medical School
Native of New Orleans
“Behind the common cold, spine problems are the most common reason that people see a doctor,” says Najeeb Thomas, a neurosurgeon with Southern Brain and Spine in Metairie, where in addition to conducting spinal surgeries, he treats diseases of the brain and spine, as well as peripheral nerve problems.
Thomas hails from a family of physicians; his father and his sister are anesthesiologists and his brother is a general surgeon.
“I chose neurosurgery because it’s such an exciting field, where you have the ability to have an immediate impact on people’s lives,” he says. “I can have a patient in extreme pain who can’t even get up out of a chair, and following an operation their pain is gone and they can walk home.”
Thomas says one of his most difficult cases was a man that came to him in pain, and doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong.
“He had pain in his back and down his legs and difficulty urinating,” Thomas says. “I did an MRI and it was negative, so we did some more imaging and nothing dramatic was coming up.
At this point, Thomas says he made the decision to remain persistent and have faith in his patient.
“I took the chance and operated and it turned out he had tethered cord syndrome, where the spinal cord is abnormally low,” he says. “I was able to correct the problem and the pain was gone.”
Thomas says he sees the man out and about from time to time.
“He always thanks me,” he says. “Because I’m from New Orleans and have lived here so long, I get to see quite a few people I’ve helped over the years around town and it’s just really rewarding to think you’re making a difference in your community.”