Most people think of neurosurgery as brain surgery — but it is much more!
It is the medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of of patients with injury to, or diseases/disorders of the brain, spinal cord and spinal column, and peripheral nerves within all parts of the body. The specialty of neurosurgical care includes both adult and pediatric patients. Dependent upon the nature of the injury or disease a neurological surgeon may provide surgical and/or non-surgical care.
Common Reasons for Neurosurgery?
Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid artery disease occurs when fatty deposits (plaques) clog the blood vessels that deliver blood to your brain and head (carotid arteries). As you can tell, this is not ideal and requires intervention from a neurosurgeon to properly address the problem within.
Chronic pain, especially in the form of neuropathy can be debilitating for some. With proper treatment from a neurosurgeon, neuropathy pain can either be reduced or resolved entirely in some cases.
Head injury from some type of accident may cause many issues to arise. With the right treatment for a neurosurgeon, the head injury can be alleviated and the overall damage to the brain may be reduced.
Strokes can be very common amongst certain subsets of the population. With this being said, it’s important to be seen by a neurosurgeon after a stroke to prevent any worsening of your condition and also address any issues caused by the initial stroke.
Pituitary tumors are times residing within your pituitary gland. These tumors may end up causing hormonal imbalances and require removal as soon as possible. Your neurosurgeon will be able to determine if you should have it removed.
Brain tumors are often associated with neurosurgery when one thinks of a common reason for neurosurgery. Neurosurgeons are greatly skilled in removing brain tumors. They’re also very skilled in determining the effects of a brain tumor on the body and how removing said tumor may improve your quality of life.
Hydrocephalus is a buildup of fluid in the brain. This condition must be treated urgently. If left untreated, it may result in death. A neurosurgeon is able to relieve said pressure from the brain and drain the fluid properly to alleviate symptoms of hydrocephalus in most cases.
Trigeminal neuralgia is sudden, severe facial pain. It’s often described as a sharp shooting pain or like having an electric shock in the jaw, teeth or gums. It usually happens in short, unpredictable attacks that can last from a few seconds to about 2 minutes. This condition is typically treated by a neurosurgeon who may use a method known as MVD, or microvascular decompression. This procedure may help resolve the underlying condition with trigeminal neuralgia.
Cervical Spine Disorders
Cervical spine disorders involve the neck bones (vertebrae), and spongy discs between the vertebrae, joints, muscles, and ligaments. As you can already tell, this is where a neurosurgeon does some of their best work.
Sciatica is a nerve-based issue caused by a herniated disc or bone spur in the spine, which may be resolved through successful treatment. A neurosurgeon can perform this surgery and possibly alleviate the patient of their sciatic nerve pain and discomfort.
A herniated disc can be successfully treated in most cases by a neurosurgeon. Herniated discs can produce mild to severe pain. Your neurosurgeon will be able to determine the best case scenario you can expect post-surgery.
Vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) occur when the bony block or vertebral body in the spine collapses, which can lead to severe pain, deformity and loss of height. These fractures more commonly occur in the thoracic spine (the middle portion of the spine), especially in the lower part. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary. Your neurosurgeon will be able to recommend the appropriate procedure, should you require surgery.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Lumbar spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in your lower back that may cause pain or numbness in your legs. Being that neurosurgeons are spinal experts, they can perform surgery within this area of the body to possibly resolve this condition.
Tumors emanating from the spine are particularly concerning for most patients. This is primarily due to the effects they can exude upon your spine. Pain, neurological problems, and possible paralysis are a few of the issues you may encounter if you are experiencing spinal tumors. Your neurosurgeon will most likely recommend surgical removal of the spinal tumor. This can help prevent further worsening of the condition and provide much needed relief for the patient.