Specialist spotlight; About neurosurgeons

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Neurosurgery is a very challenging surgical specialty and one where the techniques and technologies used are constantly developing. A neurosurgeon is a specialist surgeon who will diagnose, assess and perform surgical procedures to treat disorders affecting the nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system which can involve any area of the body.

By the nature of this specialism a neurosurgeon can work with patients of all ages from new born and premature babies to elderly people. They can treat conditions that are immediately life threatening as well as chronic debilitating conditions.

What type of conditions do neurosurgeons treat?

  • tumours of the brain, spine and skull
  • trauma to the head and spinal cord
  • degenerative spinal conditions and prolapsed discs
  • cerebral (brain) aneurysms and strokes
  • epilepsy
  • infections
  • movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease
  • certain psychiatric disorders
  • congenital conditions such as spina bifida
  • conditions that affect cerebro-spinal fluid flow such as hydrocephalus
  • pituitary tumours and neuroendocrine disorders

Neurosurgeons use highly advanced imaging procedures and can work closely with radiologists. They use a range of diagnostic tools including CT and MRI scans along with other techniques such as brain angiography.

Minimally-invasive procedures using surgical microscopes and endoscopes are increasingly used in neurosurgery which achieve comparable or better results than open surgery. The benefits to the patient include less pain, faster recover time and minimal scarring.

Common procedures performed by a neurosurgeon

  • craniotomy – surgical microscopes are used to help the surgeon make narrow openings that minimise damage to other brain tissue for the removal of tumours
  • neuroendoscopy – using specialised endoscopes with high resolution video cameras to treat deep-seated tumours in the brain and skull base. The tumour can be removed with a minimally invasive approach
  • stereotactic radiosurgery – this is a form of non-invasive treatment for tumours that focuses radiation on a part of the brain

The above information has been sourced from https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/



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