Neurological Conditions We Treat

Neurosurgeon Peter Nakaji specializes in the treatment of rare and complex neurosurgical conditions at The Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. Dr. Nakaji is globally respected for his minimally invasive surgical techniques, which use keyhole incisions to access lesions deep within the delicate brain tissue. Benefits of these advanced techniques include enhanced healing time and minimized aesthetic impact. For more information on Dr. Nakaji's areas of expertise, including endonasal surgery, laser thermal ablation, and radiosurgery, contact our practice today

Cerebrovascular Diseases

Cerebrovascular diseases, including moyamoya disease, aneurysms, and arteriovenous malformations, are complex neurological disorders that can affect blood flow within the brain. If a blood vessel ruptures, it can cause damage to the brain. If blood within the brain fails to circulate, a portion of brain tissue may not receive oxygenated blood, which can lead to stroke. Patients who have experienced symptoms of cerebrovascular disease should seek immediate diagnosis and treatment. Learn More About Cerebrovascular Diseases


Cerebral aneurysms are dilations that occur within the arteries of the brain. Aneurysms pose a great risk to the patient's health when they burst. During aneurysm treatment, the goal of surgery is to isolate the aneurysm, keeping it from damaging the brain. This type of neurosurgery requires extreme care and careful decision making. Dr. Nakaji brings a high level of experience, expertise, and care to the treatment of aneurysms, to offer patients effective treatments that protect the surrounding brain.

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Moyamoya Disease

Moyamoya disease creates a blockage in a the brain's carotid arteries, the structures that deliver essential oxygen-rich blood to the front part of the brain. Patients with Moyamoya disease develop weaker arteries that attempt to feed the blood by going around the blockage in the blood vessels. As these arteries are unable to support normal blood flow, they are prone to stroke or a cerebral hemorrhage. Dr. Nakaji treats some patients with Moyamoya with a "bypass" procedure in which blood vessels are helped to go around the blockage. During a direct bypass, Dr. Nakaji connects together two existing arteries with tiny sutures to increase blood flow between tissues. During an indirect bypass, a blood vessel from the scalp is placed onto the constricted area, which then generates new arteries to carry additional blood supply to the area.

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Arteriovenous Fistula (AVF)

Arteriovenous fistula (AVF) is a condition in which an abnormal connection develops between arteries and veins in the brain. In a normal healthy brain, arteries transfer blood to capillaries, which then transfer blood to the veins. In a patient suffering from AVF, arteries bypass capillaries and distribute blood directly to the veins. This causes congestion in the brain's tissues, and can create a variety of problems including stroke and seizure. After closely examining pre-operative studies to diagnose this condition, Dr. Nakaji microsurgically divides the abnormal connection to restore proper blood flow and reduce the risk of stroke.

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Brain Tumors

At the Barrow Neurological Institute, Dr. Nakaji and the neuro-oncology team have extensive experience treating the full range of brain tumors. Dr. Nakaji uses minimally invasive and microsurgical techniques to remove tumors. There are a wide variety of brain tumors, including glioblastoma, astocytoma, metastatic tumors, meningiomas, hemangioblastomas, pineal tumors, and many others. Dr. Nakaji takes great care to remove tumor tissue while preserving the normal brain and nerves. Dr. Nakaji individualizes each treatment based on the size, complexity, and type of each patient's tumor. After removal, care is coordinated by an experienced team and the institutional tumor board.

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Chiari Malformation

Chiari malformation is a condition in which there is a mismatch between the size of the lower part of the brain and the skull that causes the lower portion of the brain, the cerebellum, to push down into the spinal canal. This abnormal anatomy can block the normal flow of spinal fluid in and out of the skull. The pressure exerted on the spinal cord and surrounding brain tissue can cause headaches, ringing of the ears, dizziness, and formation of a fluid collection in the spinal cord called a syrinx. A syrinx can cause paralysis, and other complications. Dr. Nakaji uses minimally invasive surgical techniques to treat this condition by creating a larger space for the brain at the base of the skull. Learn More About Chiari Malformation

Cavernous Malformation

Cavernous malformations are abnormal clusters of blood vessels that form in the tissue of the brain. These clusters have a tendency to leak blood into the surrounding healthy brain. These hemorrhages in the brain can cause a range of serious complications, including stroke and seizure. Dr. Nakaji uses microsurgical treatment to access the portion of the brain where the cavernous malformation has formed, and remove the blood vessels that are at increased risk of hemorrhaging. Cavernous malformations can occur anywhere in the brain. Dr. Nakaji has experience with a wide range of innovative approaches to safely access even the most difficult areas, including the brainstem.

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Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM)

An arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is an abnormal connection that can occur anywhere in the body between the arteries and veins. This is usually a congenital condition, and is often asymptomatic, although brain AVM patients can experience headache, seizures, and other serious medical problems, including hemorrhaging. AVM patients can have their vascular malformations successfully removed either with a clipping or coiling procedure to help relieve them of symptoms and to prevent hemorrhage.

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Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease can have devastating affects on individuals, which is why it is very important to seek treatment from a world-class specialist like Dr. Nakaji. Alzheimer's is a progressive brain disease that diminishes memory and other brain functions. Dr. Nakaji can provide the expertise necessary to ensure that you or your loved one remains as alert and sharp as possible. He can prescribe medications and treatment strategies to keep symptoms at bay. 

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Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that causes extreme daytime sleepiness due to abnormal brain activity, and can also cause loss of muscle tone and hallucinations. Dr. Nakaji has years of experience studying narcolepsy and can diagnose, treat, and manage your symptoms so that you can enjoy a more alert and energetic life. He can also prescribe medications that can dramatically relieve your symptoms. 

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Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is a central nervous system disorder that makes it difficult for the patient to control their motor skills, and often includes tremors and other shaky behavior. Dr. Nakaji is a world-class neurologist and neurosurgeon who can effectively diagnose and treat parkinson's disease so you can resume a more normal life.

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Migraine headaches affect millions of individuals each day, causing painful headaches and sensitivity to light. Dr. Nakaji understands that these symptoms are painful and have a negative impact on each day they affect. He offers advanced treatments and therapies to help lessen the intensity of migraine headaches so you can resume your normal, productive routine. 

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Epilepsy is a neurological disorder wherein the nerve cell activity in the brain is excessive and causes the patient to have seizures. The condition can be caused by a genetic disorder, traumatic brain injury, or stroke. Dr. Nakaji is a highly skilled and trained neurosurgeon who can offer effective treatments at managing seizures.

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Over 200,000 individuals are affected by a stroke each year. These incidents are caused by an interruption of blood to certain areas of the brain, causing those parts of the brain to become severely damaged. Fortunately, Dr. Najaki is a very experienced neurosurgeon who offers both surgical and non-surgical treatments to recover from stroke.

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Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is a congenital disorder that causes rigid limb movement, exaggerated reflexes, and pain. Patients' ability to complete basic motor skills is also affected negatively. Dr. Nakaji is compassionate and understands the difficulties that come with cerebral palsy, which is why he offers treatments to manage symptoms.

Learn More About Cerebral Palsy

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