Brain surgery is a surgical procedure performed to treat problems in the brain and its surrounding structures. These problems may include certain medical conditions such as a brain tumor, bleeding in the brain, blood clots in the brain, weaknesses in blood vessels, skull fracture, epilepsy and other brain diseases. Brain surgery is often the preferred treatment when a tumor can be removed without any unnecessary risk of neurological damage. There are several types of brain surgery, each different depending on the exact location of the problem and the severity of an individual’s condition.
Brain Mapping: brain navigation and cerebral function monitoring allows for seeing how functions are organized in the brain and further anatomic images are acquired in the operating theater with the aim to place the brain functional map to the patient’s exact position at that specific time. The system enables to surgeon to be aware of his or her movements in the surgical field with the upmost precision, thus locating functional structures and boundaries of the tumor.
Advanced microsurgery: cutting-edge 3D endoscopes allow for 3D vision and depth of field that are absolutely realistic and designed to remove tumors located at the basis of the skull. The cancerous tissue is fragmented and removed with a sophisticated ultrasound suction device, thus minimizing surgical side effects such as overheating of the relevant area. The state of the art laser lights provide the surgeon with the possibility to operate in depth with minimal invasive access and 3D vision of the surgical field.
High-tech therapy for aneurysms: the combination of cutting-edge angiography systems, state-of-the-art endovascular embolization technologies and micro-Doppler technologies for continuous control of the blood stream ensure the best opportunity to treat highly complex aneurysms.
Before brain surgery, a doctor may recommend laboratory and x-rays tests to properly diagnose the cause and ensure an individual is able to receive surgical treatment. Consultation with a doctor in regards to any allergies, eating, drinking and taking certain medications is also required in order to reduce the risk of complications, such as bleeding, during surgery. Other instructions that are recommended before surgery include:
- Stopping any use of tobacco
- Avoiding eating or drinking anything after midnight on the night before the surgery
- Arranging for transportation to and from the hospital
- Arranging for home care during recovery after surgery
During brain surgery, the hair on part of the scalp is removed and the area is thoroughly cleaned to avoid the possibility of an infection. General anesthesia is used so the individual is unconscious during the surgical procedure. A small incision is made through the scalp and an endoscope is inserted. An endoscope is a small camera that helps guide the surgeon on the exact location of the problem and allows for insertion of any necessary surgical instruments. During surgery, the surgeon creates a hole in the skull and removes a bone flap. After surgery, the bone flap is typically replaced using small metal plates, sutures or wires. The overall timing of the surgical procedure depends on the exact location of the problem, the severity of an individual’s condition and the type of procedure performed.
Like with any surgical procedure, possible risks that can arise from brain surgery include:
- Blood clots
- Bleeding in the brain
- Infection in the brain
- Swelling in the brain
After brain surgery, close monitoring by medical professionals is required in order to ensure that the brain is working properly and no further complications will arise. A common symptom after surgery is swelling, which is normal and can be reduced by keeping the head of the bed raised. Medications are also given to the patient to help relieve pain. Hospitalization is a must for 3-7 days after surgery and physical therapy may be recommended shortly after.
The success rate of brain surgery generally depends on an individual’s overall health and age, the condition being treated and the exact location of the problem within in the brain.