How Advanced Neurosurgery Saved This Lance Corporal

Various kinds of brain surgery are some of the most awe-inspiring procedures in the realm of modern medicine today. The skill required for a surgeon to operate within a person’s brain is so incredibly high; neurosurgeons have the capacity to save lives and restore hope to people who would otherwise face a harrowing medical journey. 

It used to be true that brain surgery included very invasive techniques, but now neurosurgeons like the professionals at Atlantic Brain and Spine use innovative techniques to save lives with minimal cutting involved. One such person whose life was forever changed by these techniques was Jocelyn Harris, a U.S. Marine, originally from Michigan, who had been serving at Camp LeJeune in southeastern North Carolina.

Headaches Turn to Fear

When Jocelyn began experiencing headaches, she wasn’t too worried at first. Soon, though, they became debilitating; she found herself lying for hours in excruciating pain with hot and cold compresses pressed against her forehead and neck. She and her new husband Jordan became very concerned and sought medical help. The doctors on base quickly referred to nearby Wilmington, NC where she met a team of neurologists who would save her life. 

The Pressure of a Cyst

Doctors found a colloid cyst in Jocelyn’s brain, causing severe pain, pressure, and a risk to her memory and life. The cyst was basically like a slowly swelling sac filled with a gel-like material. The more it grew, the more pressure it put on her memory centers. What’s worse, it could actually kill her at any moment. The medical team knew they had to act fast and get that cyst out. 

Colloid cysts are uncommon, making up only 0.5% to 1% of brain tumors. They usually form near the foramen of Monro, a fluid junction in the brain. Blocking this area can lead to drainage issues, particularly problematic in young individuals with narrow brain fluid spaces. Jocelyn and Jordan were both shocked to learn what they thought were migraines were actually an incredibly rare tumor about the size of a pea. They began envisioning a massive neurosurgery procedure, complete with a difficult recovery and rehabilitation period. Fortunately, getting the colloid cyst removed was a lot easier than they had imagined. 

A Minor Incision — A Major Triumph

To remove Jocelyn’s tumor, Dr. Jeffrey Beecher, a neurosurgeon at Atlantic Brain and Spine, used a series of advanced techniques that made the whole experience easier. It also made her subsequent rehabilitation more smooth and speedy than it would otherwise have been. First, Dr. Beecher used an endoscopic technique, which meant he didn’t have to make any major incisions. Instead he cut a hole about the size of a penny and navigated through there, using a neuro endoscope (a teeny camera) and a GPS-esque technique called neuronavigation to avoid hurting any healthy brain tissue. Neuronavigation was achieved by working with a sophisticated scan, enabling Dr. Beecher to see the precise spot where the cyst was located. Then, it was a matter of cutting and removing it. 

Jocelyn’s recovery wasn’t simple — she spent two months on medical leave, recovering her strength alongside family. It isn’t ever easy to recover from brain surgery. She had to practice concentration, reconnect with her ability to remember, and gain back her strength. Still, not having a huge incision or any problems with other brain tissue made everything easier. 

Despite feeling scared and overwhelmed upon learning she needed brain surgery, Jocelyn doesn’t remember much about her time in the hospital due to the impact of the cyst on her memory functions. What does remain vivid for her is the sense of being cared for and the assurance of safety provided by her expert care team. To learn more about how Atlantic Brain and Spine’s use of cutting-edge technology can support your medical needs, reach out today to make an appointment.

Neurosurgical Physician Assistant Opening

Atlantic Brain and Spine is seeking a Physician Assistant (or SFA-NP) motivated to learn new skills and take on the challenge of continuing to reinforce and build a solid practice platform with our experienced neurosurgeons. Our growing practice employs 6 neurosurgeons, 11 Physician Assistants/Nurse Practitioners. 

What sets our practice apart? The makeup of our surgical group includes the only endovascular neurosurgeon in our region, a world leader in lateral access exposures, and one of the top robotic lateral spine surgeons in the country also assisting with robotic improvement projects. Our surgeons have ongoing exposure to new ideas, equipment and technique advancements, and embrace the challenge to be on the cutting edge of neurosurgical technology. 

Who is a good fit? This job is fast paced and requires a candidate willing to take on the challenge of learning the specifics of Endovascular Neurosurgery both on and off the job during their introductory period. Call requires 48- or 72-hour rotation (M/T; W/R; F/S/S), with additional compensation per day. Candidates should be invested in patient satisfaction and providing a good customer service model. New graduates welcome to apply. The ideal candidate will work to maintain constant communication with their attending, being an integral piece in executing the patient’s plan of care. 

Work Schedule: Full-time. M-F and 1 weekend every 6 weeks /1:6 Call ratio

Required Qualifications:

  • Graduate of an accredited Physician Assistant Program
  • Current Board Certification
  • Current North Carolina License Preferred
  • Critical Care training/experience
  • Desired knowledge/experience Neurosurgery/Neurology/Orthopedic Spine Surgery
  • Current prescribing privileges including a DEA license for controlled substances
  • Competent in viewing MRI, CT, radiology films used during the medical decision-making process

Practice Requirements:

  • Hospital arrival by 6:45 am M-F plus call days
  • Surgery Schedule 2-3 days per week
  • Clinic days 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, 2-3 days per week; close early on Fridays. 
  • Primary Call: Responsible for taking first call, patient consults, and acting as surgical first assist. Must be within a 30-minute travel radius when on call to NHRMC


  • Health Insurance 
  • Dental & Vision Insurance
  • 401(k) 
  • Voluntary benefits 
  • CME allowance
  • Dues & Memberships 
  • PTO

Full Time Front Desk

Role and Responsibilities

The medical office assistant will have a minimum of one-year experience and be an integral part of the patient care team. This is a full-time position, and will handle the use of confidential information. This position will cross cover between check-in and check-out. Primary duties are as follows:

  • Greet patients and visitors, in person or on the telephone
  • Registration of patient accounts
  • Process outgoing referrals
  • Scheduling of patient appointments
  • Payment collections and postings
  • Optimizes patient’s satisfaction, provider time and treatment room utilization by scheduling appointments
  • Notifying providers and clinical staff of patient’s arrival
  • Scanning medical records in the EMR, including but not limited to paper documents and CD images
  • Protects patient’s rights by maintaining confidentiality of personal and financial information
  • Maintain the cleanliness of the reception area
  • Additional duties as assigned

Qualifications and Education Requirements

High School Degree or GED required; and one year of customer service experience. Excellent customer service skills, strong written and verbal communication skills required.

Preferred Skills

One-year of medical front office experience a plus. Associates degree preferred.

Salary: $14.00 – $19.00 per hour


  • 401(k)
  • Dental insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Health savings account
  • Life insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Vision insurance

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