Neurosurgeons are responsible for diagnosing, assessing and performing surgery to treat disorders of the nervous system. They have the incredibly challenging job of operating on the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system, which can involve any area of the body.
Their work can range from performing surgery on patients of all ages, from premature newborn babies to elderly folk.
Techniques and technologies are constantly being developed in order to help neurosurgeons perform their work. Minimally-invasive procedures using microscopes and endoscopes are being used more often, and it achieves comparable or, sometimes, even better results than open surgery. They offer benefits to patients, such as less pain, faster recovery time and less scarring.
The main type of conditions neurosurgeons treat include but are not limited to:
Tumours in the spine or skull
Degenerative spinal conditions and prolapsed discs
Cerebral aneurysms and strokes
Pituitary tumours and neuroendocrine disorders
Neurosurgeons commonly use procedures and intervention methods such as craniotomy, neuroendoscopy and stereotactic radiosurgery. In a craniotomy, surgical microscopes are used to help the surgeon make narrow openings to minimise damage to brain tissue during the removal of tumours. Neuroendoscopy uses endoscopes with high-resolution video to treat deep-seated tumours in the brain and at the base of the skull. Finally, stereotactic radiosurgery treats tumours using radiation.
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