Neurology is that branch of medicine which is related with study and treatment of nervous system disorders. Nervous system is a sophisticated and intricate system which standardizes and coordinates activities of the body including the brain. Nervous system has two main divisions, viz. the central nervous system and the brain and spinal cord. Doctors specializing in neurology are recognized as neurologists. Neurologists treat illnesses affecting the nerves, spinal cord and the brain. These disorders consist of demyelinating sicknesses of the central nervous system like multiple sclerosis and of the cerebrovascular diseases like stroke.
What do Neurologists do?
During neurological inspections, a neurologist will review the patients’ health history with special prominence on present condition. Normally, inspections will take account of function of cranial nerves (including vision), coordination, strength, reflex action, sensation and mental status as well. Gathering of this data will aid the neurologist determine if the issue is clinically localized or lodges within the central nervous system. Localization of pathology is the main procedure which permits neurologists in developing differential diagnosis. Further tests might however be essential to authorize diagnosis and arrive at therapy for apt management.
What is Neurosurgery?
Also recognized as neurological surgery, neurosurgery is a medical specialty which is concerned with diagnosis, surgical treatment, rehabilitation and deterrence of disorders affecting any part of the nervous system including extra-cranial cerebrovascular system, peripheral nerves, spinal cord and the brain.
Common Types of Neurosurgeries
Awake Brain Surgery
Awake Brain Surgery is also acknowledged as Awake Craniotomy. This is a kind of process which is implemented upon a brain while the patient is alert and wide-awake. Awake brain surgery is employed in treatment of some neurological disorders like epileptic seizures or some brain tumors. When tumors or zones of brain where seizures occur (epileptic focus) are near portions of brain which control vision, speech or movement might necessitate the patient to be awake during operation. Neurosurgeons might ask patients questions and monitor activity in brain as patients respond during awake brain surgery. Patient responses ultimately help the neurosurgeon make sure that they are treating the right areas of the brain which necessitate surgical intervention. This process also drops risk of impairment to functional regions of brain which could affect speech, movement or vision of the patient.
Brain Stereotactic Radiosurgery
Also acknowledged as Gamma Knife Radiosurgery, this is a kind of radiation therapy which is used for treating vascular malformations, tumors and other aberrations of brain. Gamma Knife Radiosurgery is like other kinds of stereo tactic radiosurgery which do not implicate surgery in the traditional sense since it does not necessitate any incisions for operation. Instead, Gamma Knife Radiosurgery uses special equipment so as to accurately focus around 200 minute beams of radiation on tumors and other targets with sub-millimeter accurateness. Though each beam of radiation has little effect on brain tissue which it passes through, there is a sturdy dosage of radiation which is delivered at the place where beams ultimately meet. Accuracy of brain stereo tactic radiosurgery leads to negligible amount of impairment to healthy tissues which surround the target. Furthermore, Gamma Knife Radiosurgery is usually a one-time process which is finished in a single day.
Carotid Angioplasty & Stent Placement
This is a surgical process which opens blocked arteries so as to treat or avert stroke. Carotid arteries are positioned on either side of the neck and are the key arteries which supply blood to the brain. This process encompasses provisionally inserting and inflating a minuscule balloon to the place where the carotid artery is blocked, so as to widen the artery passage. Most often Carotid Angioplasty is pooled with stent placement. Stent is a trivial metal coil which aids prop the artery open and decreases chances of it tapering at this site once again. Carotid angioplasty and stent placement might be used when traditional carotid artery surgery is either not practicable or is too hazardous for the patient.
This is a process which is intended to treat carotid artery disease. Carotid artery disease usually befalls when waxy, fatty deposits accumulate within the carotid artery. Carotid arteries are blood vessels which are situated on either sides of the neck and supply blood to the brain. Atherosclerosis or accumulation of plaques might at times confine blood flow to brain. Confiscating these plaques which is causing tapering in artery can improve blood flow in the artery and decrease risk of stroke. Patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy get local or general anesthesia during the process. Neurosurgeons will make an incision along the front of neck and open the carotid artery to confiscate plaques which are blocking the artery. Neurosurgeon will then repair the artery with sews or patches made with a vein or patch grafts made of artificial materials. Another method called Eversion Carotid Endarterectomy is at times employed which encompasses cutting the carotid artery and turning it back-to-front to confiscate plaque. Consequently, the neurosurgeon will then re-attach the carotid artery. Carotid endarterectomy is typically recommended by doctors for patients having more than 60 percent obstruction in the artery, although they might or might not be experiencing symptoms. Neurosurgeons will assess the condition of the patient first so as to determine whether they are worthy contenders for carotid endarterectomy.
Computer-Assisted Brain Surgery
Computer-assisted brain surgery with Viezec uses imaging technologies like computerized tomography (CT scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), intraoperative MRI and positron emission tomography (PET) scans in order to create a 3D model of brain. This technique permits neurosurgeons plan the safest way to treat neurologic disorders. Furthermore, computer system specifically guides the neurosurgeon to regions of brain necessitating treatment during operation. Quite often, the neurosurgeon might combine computer-assisted surgery with awake brain surgery if necessary. Robot-assisted surgery might also encompass deep brain stimulation for patients having epilepsy. Neurosurgeons allied with Viezec often use computer-assisted methods for treating arteriovenous deformities, brain tumors and other lesions with accurately focused beams of radiation by using stereo tactic radiosurgery.
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)
This surgical process encompasses implanting electrodes within certain zones of brain so as to produce electrical impulses which standardize abnormal impulses. Furthermore, these electrical impulses can also affect certain brain cells and their chemical creations. Expanse of stimulation which is necessary in individual circumstances is controlled by a pacemaker-like device which is implanted underneath the skin of the patient in the upper chest. Wire leads travel below skin to connect the device to electrodes in brain. Deep brain stimulation is used to treat numerous neurological disorders like essential tremor, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, Tourette syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder and chronic pain. DBS is also being studied as experimental treatment for dementia, addiction, stroke retrieval and major depression. Clinical trials are also obtainable for patients necessitating deep brain stimulation.
Surgery for epilepsy is a medical process which encompasses removing an area of the brain where seizures are found to initiate. This works best for individuals having seizures which always instigate from the same place in brain. However, epilepsy surgery is considered only after the patient has tried as a minimum two anti-seizure drugs without any victory. When these two apt drugs have failed, it is extremely unlikely that any of the other anti-epileptic medications would help the patient.
Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery
Neurosurgeons use a multiplicity of methods for operating with lesser impairment to body than open surgery in minimally invasive surgery process. Minimally invasive surgery is usually related with lesser pain, shorter stay at the hospital and fewer complications as well. Laparoscopy surgery is implemented through one or more small incisions, which use trivial tubes and small cameras and special surgical instruments, was the first kind of minimally invasive surgical intervention that was developed. Another type of minimally invasive surgery is robotic surgery which offers a magnified 3D view of the surgical site to neurosurgeons and helps them operate with flexibility, accuracy and total control. Furthermore, there are recurrent inventions in minimally invasive surgery processes which make it advantageous for patients with an extensive array of neurological conditions. Patients requiring neurosurgery and thinking that they might be worthy contenders must speak to the doctors for availing this methodology.
Neurological Conditions Treated with Neurosurgery
This is an uncommon, benevolent (noncancerous) and generally slow-growing tumor which develops on the main nerve leading from inward ear to brain. Pressure from acoustic neuroma can cause instability, ringing in ears and hearing loss as divisions of this key nerve straight influences hearing and balance. Acoustic neuroma is also acknowledged as vestibular schwannoma and generally grows very slowly or not at all in some circumstances. However, it is also found to grow speedily and become huge to press against brain and interfere in vital functions in some circumstances. Acoustic neuroma treatments largely include regular monitoring, radiation therapy and surgical removal.
Alzheimer’s disease essentially is a neurological ailment where demise of brain cells is found to cause cognitive decline and memory loss. This is a neurodegenerative kind of dementia which begins as mild but gets worse gradually. Entire brain size in Alzheimer’s disease patients are found to shrivel over time with brain tissue having abridged nerve cells and connections. However, these cannot be seen or tested in a living brain, but autopsies have revealed tiny inclusions in nerve tissue which are named plaques and tangles. Plaques are usually found between dying brain cells from an accumulation of protein called beta-amyloid. Knots are found in brain neurons on account of another protein called tau.
Complications with balance are conditions which make an individual giddy or unstable. Patients may feel they are moving, revolving or floating even when they are standing, sitting or floating. When they are walking, they may unexpectedly feel tottering or flip over. There are numerous body systems involved, including visions, bones, joints, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, heart and balance organ in inner ear, which must work habitually, for an individual to maintain balance. When these symptoms are unsynchronized and do not function well, an individual does experience problems with balance. There are numerous medical conditions which can cause complications with balance. However, it is dispensed with the vestibular system (balance end-organ in inner ear) that leads to maximum balance glitches.
Benign Peripheral Nerve Tumor
Peripheral nerves usually link the brain and spinal cord to all portions of the body. These nerves aid in controlling muscles so that individuals can swallow, blink, pick up things, walk and carry out other activities. There are numerous categories of nerve tumors which occur, though the reason of most is unknown, there are quite a few which are genetic. However, maximum of these tumors are not tumorous, but they can result in loss of muscle control because of nerve impairment. This is why it is imperative to see the doctor when an individual is experiencing numbness, tingling pain or a strange lump.
Brachial Plexus Injury
Brachial plexus is a network of nerves which sends indicators from spine to shoulders, arms and hands. Brachial plexus injury befalls when nerves get flattened, stretched or in several serious cases rip open or haul away from spinal cord. Minor brachial plexus injuries are acknowledged as burners or stingers and are common in contact sports like football. Babies also at times sustain brachial plexus wounds at the time of birth. Other conditions which affect brachial plexus consist of inflammation or tumors. Maximum severe brachial plexus injuries are found to be the result of automobile or motorcycle mishaps. Severe brachial plexus injuries can every so often leave the arm paralyzed in conjunction with loss of sensation and function. Surgical processes which can help reinstate function consist of muscle transfers, nerve transfers or nerve grafts.
A brain aneurysm is inflating or a protuberance in a blood vessel in the brain. This typically looks like a berry dangling on a stem. Furthermore, brain aneurysms can split or leak in an attempt to cause bleeding inside the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). Most often burst brain aneurysms are found to befall in space in-between brain and thin tissues covering the brain. This type of hemorrhagic strokes is recognized as subarachnoid hemorrhage. Cracked aneurysms speedily turn dangerous and consequently necessitate hasty medical attention. Maximum of the brain aneurysms, however, do not rupture or generate any type of health complications or cause symptoms. This kind of brain aneurysms is most often perceived during tests conducted for other medical disorders. Nonetheless, treatment for unruptured brain aneurysms can be suitable in some cases and might even be able to avert a rupture in future.
Brain AVM (Arteriovenous Malformation)
Brain AVM or arteriovenous malformation is a mass of abnormal blood vessels which connect arteries and veins in the brain. These arteries are accountable for taking oxygen-rich blood from heart to brain while veins carry oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart and lungs. Brain AVM is found to interrupt this vital process and function. Although AVMs can develop wherever in the body, they most often come about in the brain or spine. However, AVMs are somewhat rare and affect less than one percent of the general population. Furthermore, the reason of AVMs is still not clear. Though maximum individuals are born with AVMs, they can also rarely form later in life and are seldom passed down hereditarily amid families. Symptoms like headaches and seizures are encountered by some brain AVM patients. AVMs are usually found during brain scans for other health problems or after break of blood vessels which has caused hemorrhage or bleeding in the brain. Nonetheless, once identified brain AVMs can fruitfully be treated in order to inhibit complications like brain stroke or mutilation to the brain.
Brain tumors are masses or growth of abnormal brain cells situated inside or close to the brain. There are numerous different types of brain tumors which are found. While some of these brain tumors are benevolent (noncancerous), there are other brain tumors which are malevolent (cancerous). Primary brain tumors are those which start in the brain. Secondary or metastatic brain tumors are those which start in other regions of the body and consequently spread to the brain. How fast these brain tumors grow can also significantly differ. Location and growth rate of brain tumor generally determines how it will be affecting the operational process of the nervous system. Furthermore, treatment options for brain tumors generally depend upon the size, location and kind of brain tumor involved.
Carotid Artery Disease
This sickness befalls when plaques or fatty deposits block blood vessels delivering blood to head and brain (carotid arteries). These obstructions upsurge the risk of stroke and which is a medical emergency happening when the blood supply to the brain is seriously reduced or disturbed. A stroke usually deprives the brain of indispensable oxygen and consequently within minutes brain cells start to die. Stroke is considered to be the fourth most common reason of demise or leading reason of permanent infirmity in the United States. Carotid artery disease is found to develop gradually. First signs and symptoms of this condition might be a stroke of transient ischemic attack (TIA). Transient ischemic attack is a provisional scarcity of blood flow to the brain. A combination of alterations in lifestyle, medicines and at times surgical intervention is generally necessary as treatment of carotid artery disease.
These are unusually formed blood vessels impersonating the appearance of a trivial mulberry. Although cavernous malformations can befall anywhere in the body, they typically create glitches when they are found in the spinal cord or brain. From time to time, these formations can be genetic and at times they might befall later on their own. Quite often these deformities leak and result in hemorrhage causing bleeding in the brain. Neurological symptoms triggered by this typically depend upon the location of cavernous deformity within the nervous system. Symptoms spawned by this condition consist of a severe headache, variations in vision, instability, trouble in understanding others, numbness, weakness and trouble in speaking. Seizures can also befall in some cases and repeat hemorrhages can also befall soon after initial hemorrhage or much later in some circumstances. It is also possible that recurrent hemorrhage might never befall in cavernous malformations.
This is an ailment of movement, posture or of muscle tone which is initiated by impairment befalling to an immature and developing brain most often before the birth. Signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy generally appear during infancy or preschool period of time. Cerebral palsy usually causes diminished movement which is related with atypical reflexes, shaky walking, involuntary movements, abnormal posture, inflexibility or limpness of limbs and trunk or any combination of these. Cerebral palsy patients also have issues with swallowing and eye muscle balance which makes it challenging for the eyes to concentrate on the same object. Individuals with cerebral palsy might often struggle with abridged range of motion at numerous joints of the body because of muscle stiffness. Effects of cerebral palsy on functional aptitudes critically differ. While some folks with cerebral palsy can walk, there are others who cannot walk. Some individuals with cerebral palsy exhibit normal or near-normal intellectual capacity, there are several others having intellectual incapacities. Deafness, blindness or epilepsy might also be present in cerebral palsy patients.
Chiari malformation is essentially an ailment in which brain tissue is found to outspread into the spinal canal. This befalls when portion of the skull is abnormally distorted or small and pressing upon the brain and forcing it down. Chiari malformation is, however, rare but snowballing usage of imaging studies has led to a more recurrent diagnosis of this condition. Chiari malformation is classified by doctors into three types contingent upon the anatomy of brain tissue which is displaced into the spinal canal and whether developmental abnormalities of spine or brain are present accompanied by. Type I Chiari malformation develops as brain and skull are growing after birth. Signs and symptoms, consequently, might not happen until late into childhood or adulthood. Chiari malformation pediatric forms are type II & type III which are inherited and consequently present at birth. Treatment of Chiari malformation, however, depends upon the symptoms, form and severity of the ailment. Nonetheless, regular monitoring, medicines and surgical intervention are regular treatment options, but in some circumstances, treatment might not be vital.
Cluster headaches usually befall in clusters or cyclical patterns. These are some of the most excruciating types of headaches. A cluster headache usually awakens patients in the mid of the night with intense pain usually in and around one eye on any one side of the head. A cluster headache brings spells of frequent attacks which are identified as cluster periods and which typically last from weeks to months and followed by remission periods when headaches stop. No headaches befall during remission periods and these can last for months and at times years. However, luckily, Cluster headaches are not dangerous and are rare as well. Available treatment alternatives for cluster headache attacks are able to make them dumpier and less severe. Moreover, medicines are also able to decrease the number of cluster headaches as well.
This is a rare type of benign (non-cancerous) brain tumor. Craniopharyngioma usually begins near the pituitary gland which secretes hormones governing numerous body functions. Craniopharyngioma grows gradually, but it can affect the function of pituitary gland and other structures in the brain which is situated nearby. Craniopharyngioma is found to befall at any age, but they most often befall in kids and older adults as well.
This is a birth imperfection in which one or more fibrous joints between baby’s cranial sutures fuse or close impulsively before the brain is completely formed. However, the growth of bones continues while giving the head a distorted appearance. Craniosynostosis normally encompasses fusion of single cranial suture, but can also encompass more than one suture of the baby’s skull and which is then acknowledged as complex craniosynostosis. Furthermore, in rare cases, craniosynostosis is found to be instigated by syndromic craniosynostosis (genetic syndromes). Craniosynostosis Treatment encompasses surgery for rectification of the shape of head and so to allow normal growth of the brain. Early diagnosis and treatment are necessary to permit sufficient space for the baby’s brain to grow and develop. Neurological damage is also found to befall in severe cases, but then, maximum babies have normal cognitive development and also accomplish good cosmetic outcomes as well following surgical intervention. However, initial diagnosis and well-timed treatment hold the key to prosperous outcomes.
Cushing syndrome is found to befall when individuals are exposed to high levels of cortisol hormone for an elongated time. Also called hypercortisolism, Cushing syndrome might be triggered by using oral corticosteroid medicine. This condition is also found to befall when the body makes excessive cortisol on its own. Too much of cortisol is found to create some hallmark signs and symptoms of Cushing syndrome like a round face, a fatty hump between shoulders or purple stretch marks on the skin. Cushing syndrome is also found to lead to bone loss, high blood pressure and at times Type 2 diabetes also. Cushing syndrome treatments can, however, return manufacturing of body’s natural cortisol to normal and prominently improve symptoms. Nonetheless, improved probabilities of retrieval depend upon the early commencement of treatments.
Dural Arteriovenous Fistulas
These are essentially abnormal connections between arteries and the tough covering (dura) over brain or spinal cord and a draining vein. Abnormal passageways are found to happen between arteries and veins (arteriovenous fistulas) of the brain, spinal cord and other regions of the body.
This is a movement malady in which muscles involuntarily contract in an attempt to cause twisting or repetitive movements. Dystonia can affect any one portion of the body (focal dystonia) or even two or more neighboring parts (segmental dystonia) or numerous portions of the body (general dystonia). These muscle spasms can either be mild or severe and might interfere with the standard performance of everyday activities. However, there is no cure for dystonia, but medicines are often found to improve the symptoms. Surgical interventions are at times utilized to standardize or incapacitate nerves or certain regions of the brain in patients with severe dystonia.
It is a neurological ailment (central nervous system disorder) in which action of the nerve cell in the brain gets disturbed in an attempt to instigate periods or seizures of rare sensations, behavior and at times even loss of consciousness. Symptoms of seizures typically extensively differ with some epilepsy patients simply gazing blankly for a couple of seconds during a seizure to others recurrently twitching their legs or arms. About 1 in every 26 individuals in the United States is found to develop seizure sicknesses. Virtually 10 percent of individuals might be having a single unprovoked seizure. However, a single seizure does not mean that the person is having epilepsy, but it necessitates at least two unprovoked seizures for diagnosis of Epilepsy. Nonetheless, even mild seizures necessitate treatments since they can prove to be hazardous during activities like swimming or driving. For around 80 percent of circumstances of epilepsy, treatments with medicines or at times surgery are able to effectually control seizures. Furthermore, some kids with epilepsy are also able to outgrow the condition with growing age.
Essential tremor is also a neurological ailment triggering rhythmic and involuntary trembling of the body. Although, these symptoms can affect any portion of the body, shuddering usually befalls in hands, particularly when the patient is doing simple errands like tying laces or drinking water from a glass. Generally, essential tremor is not a hazardous condition, but symptoms normally deteriorate over time and might also be severe in some individuals. Though essential tremor is occasionally muddled with Parkinson’s disease, other disorders do not cause this condition. Essential tremor can affect individuals of all ages but is commonly found in folks aged 40 years or more.
This is a rare type of cancer which begins in the upper portion of the nasal cavity. This region where Esthesioneuroblastoma begins is alienated from the brain by a bone encompassing tiny bones which permit nerves controlling smell (olfactory) to pass through them. Esthesioneuroblastoma is consequently also acknowledged as olfactory neuroblastoma. Esthesioneuroblastoma can befall in adults of any age, but usually, start as a tumor in nasal cavity and can spread or grow into brain, eyes and sinus. Esthesioneuroblastoma patients can lose their sense of smell, experience trouble in breathing via nostrils as tumors grow and have recurrent nosebleeds. Esthesioneuroblastoma is also found to spread to lymph nodes in neck and parotid glands as well. Progressive cases of Esthesioneuroblastoma can also spread to other portions of the brain and the body, like bones, liver and lungs. Treatment of Esthesioneuroblastoma usually consists of surgery and chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also often suggested in conjunction with it.
Gliomas are a kind of tumor which happens in brain and spinal cord. Gliomas generally start in the glial cells which are gummy supportive cells nearby nerve cells and also help them function. There are 3 kinds of glial cells which can produce brain tumors. These gliomas are categorized as per the kind of glial cells that are involved in the tumor.
Types of Gliomas
Gliomas also affect brain function and can be life-threatening contingent upon the location and rate of growth. Gliomas are considered as one of the most common kinds of primary brain tumors. Category of glioma typically determines the treatment plan and the prognosis of a case. Glioma treatment alternatives usually take account of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy and experimental clinical trials as well.