3 Operations Neurosurgeons Can Use to Save Lives
Brain injuries and diseases can continue to affect people for the rest of their lives. Even minor conditions can have a lasting impact on brain activity, and -- in turn -- bodily functions.
According to a worldwide study conducted by the World Health Organization, a whopping eight out of 10 disorders in the top three disability classes are neurological problems. Some of these conditions are even life threatening, such as the aggressive Alzheimer's disease. It currently affects as many as 5.4 million Americans, a number which the American Alzheimer's Association expects to triple up to 16 million by 2050.
Physical trauma to the brain can actually be just as debilitating and life threatening as some congenital diseases. The inflammation of the brain can cause serious and permanent damage. So what can a neurosurgeon do to aid those suffering with these conditions?
Craniotomy: The brain is such a complex organ, that it can be difficult for neurosurgeons to completely see what's going on in the skull without being able to physically view it. A craniotomy procedure involves removing a piece of the skull called a 'bone flap,' used during both diagnosis and any procedure necessary.
This operation is most commonly used to remove brain tumors. After which, the opening can simply be closed and allowed to heal.
Stereotactic brain biopsy: If physicians expect multiple areas of the brain are damaged, or the portions are in a hard-to-reach area, a neurosurgeon may opt to perform a stereotactic brain biopsy. Using MRI and CT scans, brain and spine surgeons can use 3-dimensional imaging to locate specific pieces of brain tissue.
Then, they can use minimally invasive techniques involving drilling a small hole in the skull and collecting tissue samples with a biopsy needle. This tissue can then be tested for indicators of a tumor, infection, vascular abnormality, or cancerous cells.
Burr holes: Creating burr holes in the skull is a surgical procedure used by surgeons to drain and remove blood clots from the brain caused by disease or severe head trauma known as subdural hematomas. During this operation, a small perforation in the skull is created to allow for the suction of blood, as well as to relieve brain pressure.
While this procedure is a minimally invasive surgery, it can still have a number of potential complications. This includes brain injury, accumulation of fluid around the brain, seizure, stroke, weakness, paralysis, bleeding and infection. Some of these can be terribly dangerous and even life threatening, such as strokes which are ranked as the third-leading cause of death in the United States, making finding experienced and skilled surgeons important.
Given that the brain is such a sensitive and important organ, taking quick action to resolve any issues with brain and spine physicians is vital to one's safety. Even minor neurosurgery could save lives.