What is Brain Surgery ?
Brain is a vital organ that controls different body organs. Brain surgery is performed when a person is diagnosed with cerebral aneurysms, brain tumors and brain hemorrhage or when a patient has weak blood vessels in the brain. Conditions and symptoms for brain surgery vary from person to person depending on their condition. Nausea, seizures, headache and drowsiness are some of the common symptoms that require a brain surgery. Brain surgery is also performed to repair damage caused to the tissue covering the brain. The surgery is also necessary for removing brain infections or to relieve serious nerve pain.
Types of Brain Surgery
There are different types of brain surgery that depend upon on the location and type of tumor.
Brain Tumor Surgery : The surgical procedure is performed for brain tumors that can be removed without resulting in severe damage. A large number of non-cancerous (benign) tumors can only be removed by surgery. However, cancerous (malignant) tumor may require additional treatment apart from surgery like chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The aim of the surgery is to remove the tumor as much as possible and also reducing its symptoms so as to improve the quality of life.
Brain Aneurysm Surgery : It is not necessary that every aneurysm requires treatment. Basically there are two surgical techniques that treat the condition of brain aneurysms- endovascular coiling and neurosurgical clipping.
Endoscopic Brain Surgery : This surgery is basically meant for treating skull base tumors. An endoscopic-assisted surgery results in no scars.
Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery : Earlier the problem of brain tumors was treated with the help of craniotomies and also by more invasive skin incisions. These procedures often resulted in more post-operative pain and also involves more recovery time. Many technological advancements in image guidance and endoscopic visualization have introduced less invasive surgery for both spine and brain. This surgery is accomplished through endoscopic approaches (through a small incision), endonasal approaches (through the nose) and supraorbital approaches (above the eye).
Bleeding Brain Surgery : Bleeding in the brain or in the space between the skull and the brain requires surgery. The surgical procedure is performed for relieving the pressure in the skull and for removing the blood that has built up in the brain. Surgery is the only option by which blood clots are removed surrounding the surface of the brain.
Meningioma Brain Surgery : A meningioma tumor grows on the surface of the brain. This tumor rather than growing inside the brain, pushes the brain away. Most of these types of tumors are considered as benign. This rare tumor exhibit cancer-like behavior known as anaplastic meningiomas or meningiomas. They represent almost 20% of all the tumors that occurs in the head. The surgery for treating meningioma is a very complex procedure. The aim of the surgery is to preserve the neurological function, removing of sufficient tumor so as to relieve pressure on the normal brain tissue and also removal of the entire tumor so that it will never occur again.
Awake Brain Surgery : This type of surgery is performed when the patient is awake for treating neurological conditions such as epileptic seizures or brain tumors. A patient is made awake during the surgical operation when the tumor is near the parts of the brain controlling speech or movement. The responses of the patient ensure surgeon about the precise area of the brain requiring surgery. Also this procedure lowers down the risk of damage to the brain’s functional area. This surgery has many advantages. The patients who have brain tumors around the brain’s functional tissue and also their condition was inoperable earlier, can opt for awake brain surgery. This surgery reduces the tumor’s size and also improves overall quality of life.
Brain Surgery Procedures
There are many surgical procedures for brain tumors are –
Biopsy : It basically takes a sample of a brain tissue for diagnosing several conditions such as brain cancer. Biopsy can also be used for determining the presence of inflammation or infection in the brain. Usually the sample taken from the brain is small. A biopsy can also be done along with an autopsy for studying brain abnormalities and medical conditions.
Craniotomy : The term Craniotomy means cutting into the head. A craniotomy is a type of surgical procedure where a bone flap is removed for a temporary period in order to access the brain. This procedure is meant for those people who are suffering from traumatic brain injury or brain lesions and it may also enable a doctor to implant deep brain stimulators for treating epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and cerebellar tremor.
Mapping : Mapping is basically done for knowing the function of the different parts of the brain near the surgical site. Mapping can be done in different ways. Some do not require opening of the head while others can be done at the time of surgery. They involve –
- Using special MRI techniques like functional MRI
- Stimulation of the brain tissue is done with the help of tiny electrical currents
- Probing the brain with special computerized wands
- The brain waves are measured while stimulating
- Magnetoencephalogram (MEG) is used to localize sensory, language and motor function
- Ultrasound probes are used near or inside brain structures
- Position emission tomography (PET) or single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)
Shunts : An increasing pressure inside the brain is very fatal and can impair brain functions. This problem can be easily treated with the help of a shunt.
Microsurgery is also one of the brain surgery procedures.
Additional Surgical Procedures for Brain Tumors
- Internal sources of drugs (Gliadel) or radiation (Gliasite) can be performed inside the tumor cavity.
- Thermal destruction instruments such as lasers may be positioned in the exact spot in order to destroy tumor tissue.
- Ultrasonic aspiration procedure break and suck out the tumors of the brain.