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The most powerful and amazing organ in our body is the brain. It differs from many other organs of our body not only by its shape, but also by its special type of cell called neurons. When these cells gets affected or dead it can never be reverted or regenerated which is the most exclusive nature found only in brain cells. The cells in other parts of our body has the capacity to regenerate (can be replaced or new one can be grown or produced), but brain cells are exception. Hence any damage to the brain, injury or trauma is really a crucial thing to be considered with utmost care.
Brain surgeries really need skill, proper training, confidence and intelligence to perform this highly complicated and risky surgery.
Brain surgeries are performed to:
- Remove the brain tissues that are grown abnormally
- Aneurysm is clipped to prevent flow of blood cliff off an aneurysm
- Biopsy purpose or to remove the tumour
- Make a nerve free
- Drain the abnormal blood or clot collection or to drain any excessive fluid collection caused by infection.
- To implant artificial electronic device as a treatment for conditions like Parkinson’s disease
- Biopsy: A part of brain tissue is removed for the brain or whole tumour is removed.
- Craniotomy: The skull bone is opened to remove tumour, an aneurysm and drain fluid or blood from infection.
- Minimally invasive endonasal endoscopic surgery: Endoscopic devices are inserted through the nose to remove the lesions or tumour.
- Minimally invasive neuroendoscopy: Similar to endonasal surgery but small incision is made.
- Anaesthesia risks like breathing difficulty, allergic reaction to medications, excessive bleeding or clots and infection.
- Risk related to the brain surgeries are seizures, coma, swelling of brain, infection to brain or meanings, surgical wound infection that intrudes to the brain structures, abnormal clot formation and bleeding.
- General risks include muscle weakness, disturbances in memory, speech, vision, coordination, balance and other functions that are controlled by the brain.
Living with epilepsy can be highly challenging. This is a medical condition that can be controlled with medications in most cases, but it might not be useful for all patients due to severe side effects. It is estimated that up to 30% people who have epilepsy face this issue, and in such cases, surgery might be considered as an option.
This condition typically results in seizures which is a result of sudden electrical activity in the brain. So, certain complicated epilepsy operations on the brain can help patients with their seizures and contain their symptoms.
The goal of epilepsy surgeries involves removing part of the brain that causes these seizures and disrupting parts of the nervous system in the brain that contribute to the same. The procedure also involves the installation of a device that helps control the side effects of epilepsy.
When is surgery not an option for epilepsy?
Doctors would accurately identify the part of the brain that is causing seizures as the first step. These parts are known in medical terms as the ‘seizure’ focus. This area should not be related critical functions of the brain like movement, sensation, and language involved – else surgery would not be possible.
Surgery is not viable when seizures are severe and impair bodily movement or if the patient has serious medical conditions (like cancer or heart diseases).
Common Surgery Options Available
- Lesionectomy: This is one of the most commonly used procedures. This form of surgery involves the surgeon removing brain lesions from the brain or areas of injury due to malformed blood vessels or tumors. These injuries can often cause seizures and epilepsy and can be treated effectively with lesionectomy.
- Lobe resection: This is another form of treatment which is possible only if the epilepsy is located in one of the four parts of the brain – the temporal lobe. It is quite common in younger people and can easily be treated by expert neurosurgeons by removing the brain tissues that are causing epilepsy.
- Multiple Subpial Transections: While the above methods involve cutting out brain tissues, sometimes such surgeries just might not be possible due to other complications. If the parts of the brain cannot be cut out, surgeons tend to adopt Multiple Subpial Transections. This procedure can help control seizures without requiring cutting out parts of the brain. Small intersections are made in the brain to disrupt the impulses from affected brain cells that cause seizures, and they do not affect normal brain activity. It helps leave all abilities intact in patients and aids in treatment very effectively.
Having a backache is one of the most common complaints heard by doctors. Pain anywhere on the back from below the neck to just above the buttocks is termed as back pain. A backache can be caused by a number of factors. The seriousness of back pain depends on the factors triggering this pain.
Back pain can affect people of all ages but is more commonly experienced by those between the ages of 35 and 55 years. A sedentary lifestyle, stress, anxiety, obesity and pregnancy are some conditions that can increase the risk of suffering from back pain. Some of the common causes of back pain are:
- Strain: Strained muscles or ligaments are the most common triggers for a back ache. This is a common occurrence that happens while trying to lift a heavy weight improperly or as a result of an abrupt movement. A muscle spasm can also cause a back ache.
- Structural problems: Backaches can also be caused by structural problems with the spinal column and musculoskeletal system. The rupturing or inflammation of spinal discs that cushion each vertebra of the spinal column are common structural problems that cause back pain. Back pain known as sciatica pain is also caused by structural problems like an inflamed or herniated disc that presses on a nerve.
- Musculoskeletal conditions: Osteoporosis and arthritis are other musculoskeletal conditions that may cause back pain.
A thorough physical examination is the first step to diagnosing the cause of back pain. If the pain persists for a long duration, tests such as MRI or CT scans, X-rays, EMGs or bone scans may be advised. This will help the doctor understand the cause of the back pain and treat it accordingly.
Treatment for a back ache depends on the factors triggering it, how long the pain persists and the intensity of the pain. Rest is usually advised along with posture exercises, heat therapy and other simple exercises to improve flexibility and tone the back muscles. Over the counter painkillers can provide temporary relief for intense back pain.
In some cases, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may also be needed. Surgery is usually the last resort for back pain and is considered only in cases where severe structural problems that do not respond to medications are the cause of the pain. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can ask a free question.
One of the most common neurological conditions men and women suffer from is a headache. Headaches usually vary in terms of location, intensity and duration and may be treated with simple home remedies or over the counter medications. One of the most renowned types of headache is known as a migraine. Other common types of headaches include sinus headaches and tension headaches.
- Migraines: Migraines are very painful headaches that may be accompanied by a feeling of nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and a pounding pain in the head. They are caused by a change in concentration of neurotransmitters in the brain which in turn make blood vessels expand thereby bringing on a migraine.
- Tension headaches: The pain of a tension headache is considered mild or moderate in comparison to migraines. This type of headache is characterised by throbbing pain on both sides of the head and pain in the neck and behind the eyes. Tension headaches are caused by the contraction of muscles in the head and neck.
- Cluster headaches: Cluster headaches are characterised by a series of short yet intense headaches that may occur every day or several weeks or months. In most cases, they recur on a seasonal basis i.e., people tend to get them at the same time of the year. The pain caused by cluster headaches may be more severe than that of a migraine but these headaches do not last as long. They are caused by the activation of a specific nerve pathway that is responsible for facial sensations. Cluster headaches are the most uncommon type of headaches.
- Rebound headaches: In most cases, a headache can be cured with over the counter remedies. However, excessive or incorrect use of these medications can cause a rebound headache. These medications may trigger another headache when their effect wears off. This makes the person retake the medicine leading to a vicious cycle. Rebound headaches are most often caused by medicines that contain caffeine.
- Secondary headaches: While the above types of headaches are categorised as primary headaches, a headache that is caused by another condition is known as a secondary headache. Secondary headaches are commonly caused by severe hypertension, sinusitis, pharyngitis and other types of head trauma. Tumours, subdural hematoma or other conditions that take up space in the head can also cause secondary headaches. Secondary headaches are a greater cause for concern than primary headaches and should not be ignored. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Neurosurgeon.
Epilepsy is a brain triggered disorder that can result in the affected person having seizures or convulsions of the body. Such convulsions last about a few minutes and the person undergoing epileptic seizure might be unaware of what’s happening to him/her during those brief moments. They may recover and appear disoriented for a few minutes more.
Epilepsy can’t be cured but is treated through medicines called anticonvulsant drugs.
- Epilepsy is a neurological disorder brought about due to unusual electrical activity in the brain
- The person having the disorder can have episodes of seizures where there can be sudden involuntary movements of the person’s whole body and shaking of the arms and legs lasting a few minutes
- The condition can occur to anybody irrespective of age but children seem to suffer more from the condition following a head injury or emotional trauma
- Electroencephalogram or EEG is the best way for the doctor to understand the exact nature of the disorder and this will help in the treatment.
- Treatment through drugs is the most popular way of keeping the convulsions under check
- Medically, if the patient goes without seizures for a few years under regular medication then there is every possibility the person may not suffer further convulsions
- Apart from medication, dietary regulations have also been adopted by many physicians to treat the condition. Low carb and high protein items are advised as a way to reduce/stop the epileptic seizures
- In some cases, the doctor might decide to conduct a surgery to remove the aberrant part of the brain to treat the individual for epilepsy
- People with epilepsy have to take a lot of precautions in their daily routines to avoid getting seriously injured if they were to suffer a sudden attack of seizures
- Driving and swimming are to be avoided by them
- People standing around can help reduce the suffering by turning the person over to one side and offering a support to the head. Care can also be taken to remove any object that can cause injury to the person while having the convulsions.
- Some doctors study the pattern of the seizures occurring and help in regulating them in such a manner that the person gets the convulsions only in the nights while asleep
- This can limit the damage done to the person and can also help the person in going about normal routines
- Parents must inform the school authorities if their children suffers from epilepsy so that they can provide first aid to such students immediately if episodes occur in school
Epilepsy is a brain-related disorder that can cause the person to go through involuntary shaking of the body and the limbs. It is usually treated with drugs. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Neurosurgeon.