Brain Surgery: Understanding the procedure

Brain surgery, also known as neurosurgery, refers to the different surgical procedures of the brain that are usually performed to treat several types of brain diseases or abnormalities like aneurysms and tumors.

In general, brain surgery is a critical procedure and it is usually performed by trained and certified neurosurgeons in a highly-specialized environment.

So, what is Brain surgery and how is it performed? Read on to learn more about brain surgery, different types of brain surgery, risks involved in brain surgery and your recovery after the surgery.

A surgeon; image source:

Brain Surgery – An Overview

Brain surgery is a crucial and highly-invasive procedure in which the neurosurgeons make a hole in the skull and remove the bone flap in order to gain access to the brain and treat a wide range of conditions like epilepsy and cancer.

Guided by an MRI, or a CT scan, or an endoscope, a brain surgery usually allows the neurosurgeons to get a clear image of the brain for treating different brain conditions or abnormalities alongside ensuring maximum accuracy of the surgery. Even though brain surgeries have their own share of risks, doctors and neurosurgeons usually perform these complicated surgical procedures in cases where the benefits compensate for the risks.

There are different types of brain surgeries based on the condition or area of the brain to be treated. Even though brain surgery is a complicated process, its type depends greatly on the condition or abnormality that is being treated. In fact, the modern advancements in medical technology have now enabled surgeons to treat different portions of the brain without a single incision in the head.

Why is Brain Surgery Done?

Brain surgery or neurosurgical procedures are usually performed to treat any condition or physical abnormalities within the brain. These physical abnormalities in the brain could be a result of any disease, injury, birth defect, or other problems. Listed below are some conditions, in or around the brain, that may prop up the need for brain surgery.

  • Epilepsy
  • Bleeding or blood clots
  • Abnormal blood vessels
  • Aneurysm
  • Abscesses
  • Damage of the Dura (a protective tissue)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Nerve irritation
  • Skull fracture
  • Pressure due to head injury
  • Brain tumors
  • A stroke
  • Building up of fluid inside the brain

All these conditions usually require brain surgery because they pose high risks for other serious health problems.

Different Types of Brain Surgery

There are different types of brain surgeries depending on the problem or the part of the brain being treated.

  1. Craniotomy

This type of brain surgery involves making a bone flap in the skull for treating a specific part of the brain.

A craniotomy is an open brain surgery that neurosurgeons opt for:

  • Removing tumors
  • Clipping off an aneurysm
  • Draining off fluid or blood from an infection
  • Removing abnormal brain tissues
  1. Biopsy

It is another type of brain surgery that is done for removing small amounts of brain tissues or a brain tumor. This neurosurgical procedure also involves making a small hole or an incision in the skull.

  1. Invasive Endonasal Endoscopic Surgery

In this type of neurosurgery, the surgeon removes lesions or tumors through your sinuses and nose. The surgeon uses an endoscope (a telescopic device equipped with a camera and lights) to see where they’re working.

Such type of brain surgery allows the surgeon to access different parts of the brain without actually making a hole or incision in the skull.

  1. Minimally Invasive Neuroendoscopy

Similar to endonasal endoscopic surgery, minimally invasive neuroendoscopy uses endoscopes for treating and removing brain tumors.

  1. Deep Brain Stimulation

This neurosurgical procedure involves making a small hole in the skull for inserting a small electrode into a deep part of your brain. This electrode is connected to a battery at your chest, and its main function is to transmit electrical signals in order to treat conditions like Parkinson’s disease.

Risks of Brain Surgery

It is a well-known fact that all surgeries involve some risk. Brain surgery is also a complex surgical procedure and certain potential risks are associated with it. Some of these risks include:

  1. Swelling in the brain
  2. Bleeding in the brain
  3. Allergic reactions to anesthesia
  4. Blood clots
  5. Memory problems
  6. Seizures
  7. Stroke
  8. Coma
  9. Impaired speech, coordination, vision, or balance
  10. Brain infection

Recovery after Brain Surgery

Once your brain surgery is done, you will be closely monitored by your medical team of doctors and surgeons. As a matter of fact, recovery from brain surgery greatly depends on the type of surgery that is being done.

However, with proper medications, planned daily routines, and a healthy lifestyle, you can easily ensure your successful recovery from brain surgery.


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