Keeping Young Minds Healthy and Bright
Driscoll Health System prides itself on providing a wide spectrum of
healthcare to children in the Rio Grande Valley and throughout
South Texas. Pediatric medicine features many conditions unique to children, which makes it all the more critical that Driscoll has
professionals on hand ready to treat whatever part of the body needs attention: from a stubbed toe, to a sprained wrist, to the most
critical parts of the body, including the brain.
Pediatric Neurology is the treatment of conditions related to the brain and the nervous system in children. When surgery is necessary, Pediatric Neurosurgeon Ashley Hanna, MD, and the Driscoll Neurosurgery Department step in.The Driscoll Children’s Hospital Pediatric
Neurosurgery clinic represents a stateof-the-art practice committed to family centered patient care. Dr. Hanna is joined by a dedicated full-time physician assistant, along with a team of schedulers, office staff,
medical assistants and nurses to help with the clinic. There is also a dedicated Neuro team in the operating room.
In addition, Dr. Hanna routinely works with other specialties within Driscoll as needed to provide a well-rounded care plan. Those
other specialties have included general surgery, plastic surgery, ear nose and throat (ENT), oncology and general pediatrics.
Children in the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo start their Driscoll neurosurgery.
treatment with both in-person clinics heldat least once a month and telemedicinevisits. Spanish-speaking team membersare available as well as qualified medicalinterpreters to assist patients and theirfamilies with scheduling or any questions theymay have.For parents, there can be a lack ofunderstanding about pediatric neurosurgerythat Dr. Hanna works hard to clear up.“When your child has a diagnosis involvingthe brain or spine, and possibly needsneurosurgery, this can be very worrisome or frightening.
I am blessed to be able to help children with many different diagnoses, as well as to help the parents understand the process of what is happening and how we are going to help their children.” When it comes to neurological conditions treated, Driscoll is able to care for the entire spectrum of neurologic disorders, including brain and spine tumors; vascular anomalies(including aneurysms and AVMs); trauma; epilepsy; and congenital brain and spine problems, including craniosynostosis, hydrocephalus, encephaloceles, spina bifida,spinal lipomas and tethered cord. To aid in treatment, Driscoll has diagnostic imaging techniques specific for children that other facilities are unable to perform, including fast MRI, offering quicker scanning
without the need for sedation.
The Driscoll Neurosurgery Departmentalso utilizes state-of-the-art microscopes and endoscopes for procedures, along with neuronavigation technology to help guide Dr. Hanna during surgical procedures, and neuromonitoring technology to monitor the patient’s nervous system and help keep it safe during a procedure.
The Driscoll Neurosurgery Department has been expanding the
amount of patients it treats, and expects to bring a second full-time
Pediatric Neurosurgeon on board in the future.
T raining for a Pediatric Neurosurgeon includes earning a
bachelor’s degree, medical school, followed by, typically, seven
years of neurosurgery residency, with five to six clinical/surgical
years and one to two years of electives or research. Pediatric
neurosurgeons must then complete a one-year fellowship after residency
dedicated to the care of patients under 21 years of age.
Dr. Hanna completed her residency at the University of Chicago.
She spent one year of her electives in the lab performing research on
craniosynostosis, a birth defect in which the bones of a baby’s skull
join together too early. Her second year was spent at the University of
Miami, Jackson Memorial Hospital Ryder Trauma Center, specializing
in Neuro-Trauma and Neuro-Critical Care. Dr. Hanna’s dedicated
pediatric fellowship was at Emory University, Children’s Hospital of
For Dr. Hanna, her interest in medicine and surgery started when she
was a young girl. “I was fascinated by the brain and my fascination
grew during my undergraduate and medical school education.”
Now that she has finished her formal education, she is thankful she is
able to help her young patients. “Children are the future and I am blessed to be able to help them on a daily basis,” she said.
Pediatric Neurosurgery is among the 30-plus specialties treated by
Driscoll Health System, in its quest to provide more care for more kids.
From head to toe, Driscoll has your child covered.