What is Neurosurgery?

Neurosurgery is a branch in medical specialty which deals with the diagnosis , surgical treatment and mitigation of disorders affecting brain and spinal cord. It mainly specializes in surgical treatment of conditions related to central nervous system and peripheral Nervous system. The skilled specialists who are extensively trained in this field to surgically treat neurological conditions like epilepsy, stroke and trauma are called as "Neurosurgeons"

Types of Neurosurgery:

  • General Neurosurgery: The surgical management of conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves is referred to as general neurosurgery
  • Brain Neurosurgery : It refers to operations carried out on the brain to repair vascular abnormalities, remove tumours, treat aneurysms, or relieve pressure caused by traumatic brain injuries.
  • Vascular Neurosurgery : Diseases affecting the arteries and veins in the brain and spinal cord are treated by vascular neurosurgery. This include conditions of brain tumours, aneurysms, cavernous malformations, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), and stroke.
  • Spinal Neurosurgery : Focuses on conditions affecting the spine, including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, spinal deformities (scoliosis), and spinal cord injuries.
  • Pediatric Neurosurgery: It focuses on the surgical treatment of neurological disease in children

Commonly seen Symptoms in Neurosurgery

  • Headaches: Persistent or severe headaches may be a sign of underlying brain tumors, aneurysms, or other neurological conditions.
  • Weakness or Numbness: Sudden weakness or numbness in the limbs could indicate a stroke, spinal cord injury, or nerve compression.
  • Seizures: Uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain leading to seizures may occur due to epilepsy, brain tumors, or other neurological disorders.
  • Changes in Vision: Blurred vision, double vision, or loss of vision in one or both eyes may signal problems with the optic nerve or brain.
  • Difficulty Walking: Problems with balance, coordination, or gait may result from spinal cord injuries, brain tumors, or degenerative spine conditions.
  • Memory Loss or Confusion: Memory problems, confusion, or changes in behavior may be indicative of conditions affecting the brain, such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Common Indications for Neurosurgery

  • Epilepsy
  • Pain
  • Trauma /brain injuries
  • Spinal cord disorders
  • Migraine
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders
  • Tremors
  • Spinal Fractures
  • Degenerative Spinal Conditions

Diagnostic Tests

  • Nerve Conduction Studies: Assess nerve function and identify areas of nerve damage or compression.
  • Blood Tests : These include arterial blood gas, coagulation test , Cardiac Markers test these help in detecting organ functions , detecting infections
  • Imaging tests : These include CT, X-Ray , MRI , ultrasound which help in assessing abnormalities and detect internal injuries.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) : Records electrical activity in the brain to diagnose epilepsy, seizures, or sleep disorders.
  • Lumbar Puncture test : Lumbar Puncture test is done by taking Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) from the brain and kidneys .This test helps in detecting neurological disorders like trauma , meningitis ,Stroke and Brain injury.

Treatment Options Available

  • Surgery: This includes stabilizing spinal injuries, correcting vascular anomalies, decompressing nerves, and removing malignancies.
  • Physical therapy: Following neurosurgical procedures or neurological injuries, it aids in the restoration of function, strength, and mobility.
  • Pain Management : Neurological pain management includes traditional surgeries for structural abnormalities and neuromodulation is another technique which passes the electrical current into nerves for relieving pain.
  • Medication: This includes steroids, anti-seizure drugs, analgesics, and pharmaceuticals for managing neurological symptoms.
  • Radiation therapy: This technique uses focused radiation to treat vascular abnormalities, reduce tumours, and kill malignant cells.
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is neurosurgery safe?

Like any surgical procedure, neurosurgery carries risks, including infection, bleeding, nerve damage, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. However, with advancements in surgical techniques and technology, the risks associated with neurosurgery have significantly decreased over time.

2. Is neurosurgery always performed for brain tumors?

No, not all brain tumors require surgery. Treatment depends on the type, location, size, and grade of the tumor, as well as the patient's overall health and preferences.

3. How long does it take to recover from neurosurgery?

Recovery time varies depending on the type of surgery performed, the patient's overall health, and the complexity of the condition being treated. Some patients may recover within a few weeks, while others may require several months of rehabilitation

4. Are all spine problems treated with surgery?

Spine Surgery is typically done for cases where conservative measures fail to provide relief or when there's a risk of neurological damage.

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