What All You Need to Know About Neurosurgery?


Neurosurgery also known as neurological surgery is the medical specialty which is concerned with the surgical treatment, rehabilitation, prevention, and diagnosis of disorders which can affect any part of the nervous system such as spinal cord, brain, peripheral nerves as well as extra-cranial cerebrovascular system. For any kind of surgical procedure related to the nervous system, it becomes important to consult with a neurosurgeon. With so many neurosurgeons available, it becomes a difficult task to choose the best neurosurgeon. However, there is an option available for instance; one can prepare a list of top 10 neurosurgeons in India and then choose the one who is the best.

An overview of neurosurgery

This is a medical specialty which is concerned with the treatment and diagnosis of patients with injury or disorders / diseases of the spinal cord, brain and spinal column, and peripheral nerves within all parts of the body. The area of expertise of neurosurgical care comprises of both adult and pediatric patients. Depending upon the nature of the disease or injury a neurological surgeon may offer surgical or non-surgical care. The traditional neurosurgery procedure depends heavily on open surgery for instance craniectomies and craniotomies wherein a part of the skull is removed so that the neurosurgeon can get access to the brain. These days with the advancement of medical science, neurosurgeons no more need to carry out open surgery instead they need to make smaller incisions which means lesser trauma and faster recovery times.

What modern neurosurgery includes?

  • Microsurgery: A neurosurgeon can carry out microsurgery in order to correct vascular disorders such as aneurysms.
  • Interventional neuroradiology: Also referred to as INR, this is a comparatively new specialty that combines highly developed 3D imaging techniques with endoscopic surgical processes. Neurosurgeons with advanced training in radiology can carry out Interventional neuroradiology.
  • Endoscopic neurosurgery: Small, flexible, lighted tubes known as endoscopes are used to visualize different parts of the skull base, brain, or spinal cord via small openings. The development of endoscopic neurosurgery has advanced to a great extent and is often used for treating a number of nervous system disorders.
  • Intra-operative imaging: This allows neurosurgeons to view thorough pictures while they are performing surgical procedure.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery: Neurosurgeons use stereotactic radiosurgery for delivery of highly focused radiation that can identify a tumor or other target with small or no effect on normal adjoining tissue. It has been used with huge accomplishment in the treatment of brain tumors and other conditions.  Neurosurgeons who specialize in stereotactic radiosurgery can also carry out procedures on a Gamma Knife, Linear Accelerator (LINAC), or CyberKnife.
  • Lateral-access spine surgery: Neurosurgeons who specialize in spine surgery can now use highly developed lateral-access processes to get access to the spine from the side, instead of through the large muscles of the back. The best thing about lateral access surgery causes less trauma and pain to the patient and allows quicker recovery times.

Understanding the role of a neurosurgeon        

Neurosurgeons are physicians who specialize in neurosurgery. They are medically trained neurosurgical specialists who can also assist patients suffering from back and neck pain in addition to a host of other diseases ranging from head injury to trigeminal neuralgia and Parkinson’s disease.  Neurosurgeons are qualified in all aspects of neurosurgery, which include the spine and spinal cord, the cerebrovascular system, tumors, trauma, pediatric surgery and pain management. Neurosurgeons offer the operative as well as non-operative management of neurological disorders. As neurosurgeons have extensive training in the diagnosis of all neurological disease, neurologists, family practitioners, internists, and osteopaths they are often called for consultations.

Neurosurgery procedures

Neurosurgeons usually work in an interdisciplinary environment which brings together neuroradiologists, neurologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and a devoted neuro anesthesia team. The Neurosurgery department has neurosurgeons who can treat a complete range of neurological disorders especially in the areas of:

  • Neuro-oncology
  • Cerebrovascular and stroke
  • Spinal neurosurgery
  • General neurosurgery
  • Functional and epilepsy neurosurgery
  • Peripheral nerve injury
  • Trigeminal neuralgia and nerve compression syndromes

Neurosurgery procedures are available for the below mentioned conditions such as:

  • Brain tumors
  • Epilepsy
  • Intraoperative angiography
  • Trauma surgery
  • Parkinson’s disease and tremors
  • Aneurysms

The common risks of neuro surgery

All types of surgical procedures come with certain types of risk. Neuro surgery is a key medical event and thus it carries additional risk. Common risks related with neuro surgery include the following:

  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia
  • Brain swelling
  • Blood clot
  • Impaired speech, coordination, balance, or vision
  • Coma or loss of consciousness
  • Infection at the wound site or in the brain
  • Seizures
  • Memory related problems
  • Stroke

How to prepare the patient for neuro surgery?

The patient must inform the neurosurgeon about any medications that they are taking, which include nutritional supplements as well as over the counter medicine. In most cases the doctor asks to stop taking these medications in the days prior to the procedure. The patient must also notify the doctor about any previous allergies or surgeries. In addition, it is important to notify the doctor about alcohol consumption and smoking habits as well. Prior to the neurosurgical procedure, the patient is usually given a special soap to wash the hair. In addition, it is the responsibility of the patient to pack belongings that they may need while they are staying at the hospital.

As neurosurgery is major surgery and is taxing to the mind and body. To optimize the recovery, it is vital to have an optimistic attitude and be as physically fit. There are certain factors which may hinder healing such as obesity, smoking, alcohol and poor nutrition. Therefore, it is recommended that before the neurosurgery the patient should stop smoking and consuming alcohol, get adequate rest and maintain a balanced and nutritious diet. In addition to this the doctor may also ask to stop taking medications such as Warfarin, Rivaroxaban and Clexane as they are blood thinning medications. It is important to note that neurosurgery cannot be carried out on people who are on these drugs, as it considerably increases the risk of bleeding during and post surgery.