SurgerLouisiana’s Alireza Minagar MD, Neuro-Immunologist and Vascular Neurologist, Explains Neurology:
For many patients, a doctor is a doctor, and it can be hard to differentiate between different specialists, especially if a patient is seeing multiple for different diseases. Although this is beneficial to patients as they receive focused attention and have doctors with the most knowledge on the disease, they are seeing them for, it becomes important for them to understand what exactly their doctors in each sub specialty do. Dr. Alireza Minagar is a neuron-immunologist and vascular neurologist from Shreveport, Louisiana, and he explains what neurologists do, and their daily activities.
These physicians are involved in the treatment of vascular issues (to do with either the arterial or venous system) within the central nervous system, encompassing the brain and spinal cord. Dr. Alireza Minagar explains that neurologists are involved in helping diagnose cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke, brain aneurysms, and brain or spinal cord hemorrhages, while also helping to prevent these occurrences from happening, or reducing complications. They are typically seen by patients who have been referred to them by their general practitioner, other specialists, or by the attending staff in hospital if admitted.
Symptoms such as chronic headache, weakness, neck pain, loss of bowel or bladder control, loss of eyesight or significant eye pain/bulging can warrant a visit with a vascular neurologist, while other reasons for referral can also include trouble with memory or speech, balance and uncoordinated gait, and poor muscle control. Some of the disease that Dr. Alireza Minagar diagnoses, manages, and treats are blood vessel malformations such as arteriovenous malformations (AVM) which are an abnormal connection of arteries with veins, and many times can occur in the brain, brain aneurysms — which are bulging or ballooning of blood vessels due to weakness that can lead to rupture and brain hemorrhage — spinal cord injuries, cerebrovascular stenosis that leads to narrowing of arteries and decreased blood flow to the brain, as well as strokes and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).
Daily, vascular neurologists typically will see patients in an inpatient (in the hospital) or outpatient (in a clinic) setting. When on service in the hospital, they will typically, be seen rounding on patients they have previously been consulted on, helping the primary team in management and treatment. As the specialist, they help provide valuable input on best practices and recent research that helps with evidence-based practice. If consulted on a new patient, they will conduct a thorough history and physical, sending off for any tests or imaging that they require, and come up with a list of possible diagnoses. From there, Dr. Alireza Minagar says that neurologists will work on a management plan and help educate patients on disease processes and answer any questions a patient may have. Their outpatient role is quite similar in that they will see both new referrals as well as patients they have been following for months, or even years.
For new patients, Dr. Alireza Minagar says they may have been given an idea through the referring physician on why they have been sent and can focus on patient’s pertinent history of what is going on, as well has conduct a thorough physical. They can then evaluate and decide on what tests, if any, need to be done and can work with the patient on coming up with a management plan, as well as educating patients on disease processes. For follow-up visits, they will generally take an interval history noting any changes in patient symptoms and help provide guidance on any changes that may be required.