Though the thought of brain surgery may create impressions of serious, life-threatening procedures for some people, the reality is much different. Contemporary surgical techniques reduce risks for many patients, and brain surgery is no different.
Operating on the brain is just one of the fields covered by neurosurgeons. The team at Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center in Phoenix and Sun City West, Arizona, are up-to-date and well-versed in minimally invasive and robotic surgical techniques, each of which typically reduces recovery time and improves patient safety. Contact the closest office when you need more information about your surgical options.
Reasons for brain surgery
In general, there are three main types of brain condition that give rise to the potential need for surgery:
- Problems with brain tissue, including infections, swelling, or tumors
- Problems with cerebrospinal fluid, such as hydrocephalus or infections
- Problems with blood flow to the brain, like clots or hemorrhages
Brain function can, in some cases, require brain surgery as well, such as some cases of epilepsy, when it can’t be improved or controlled by other means.
Conditions that may require brain surgery
As well as epilepsy, some of the medical conditions that could require surgical intervention include:
- Blood clots
- Blood vessel abnormalities
- Intracranial bleeding
- Problems with the dura, the protective tissue around the brain
- Head injuries resulting in pressure on the brain
- Fluid buildup in the skull
- Skull fracture
- Parkinson’s disease
- Brain tumors
- Nerve irritation or damage
Simply having one of these conditions doesn’t mean you require brain surgery. There may also be multiple approaches to treating any one condition, if it requires surgery. This usually depends on a patient’s condition. For instance, mild problems could require minimally invasive techniques while those involving active bleeding may be better treated with open surgery.
Brain surgery procedures
Craniotomy involves removing a section of the skull to access the area of the brain that requires medical intervention. It’s perhaps the procedure that comes to mind when many people think of brain surgery. Craniotomy is often the choice when treating brain bleeds, fluid buildup, treating aneurysms or removing tumors.
Two common procedures require an incision and a hole made in the skull. Biopsy is used to retrieve a sample of tumor or brain tissue for further testing. Deep brain stimulation, a treatment for Parkinson’s disease and others, also requires access to place an electrode into specific brain tissue.
Minimally invasive brain surgeries require either small holes in the skull or sometimes none at all. Some tumors can be removed through half-inch holes using special endoscopic instruments. Tumors in the bottom of the brain or on the base of the skull can sometimes be accessed through the nose. Aneurysms may be repaired using a catheter inserted in an artery in your groin.
Brain surgery is complex by definition. Contact Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center to ensure you’re receiving the most advanced and expert care possible. Request an appointment online or call the most convenient office directly. It’s important to understand your treatment options, so book your consultation now.