According to the Journal of Neurosurgery, 13.8 million people per year require neurosurgery procedures worldwide. While neurosurgical procedures may sound intimidating, they are more common than many people think. Keep reading to discover the 5 most common types of neurosurgery procedures and why you would need them.
Common Neurosurgery Procedures
First, you might be asking, what is neurosurgery? This term refers to surgical procedures performed on the central nervous system, meaning the brain, spine, and spinal column. These procedures may be to treat nerve pain, spinal cord issues, herniated discs, and other conditions.
1. Anterior Cervical Discectomy
One of the most common neurosurgical procedures is the anterior cervical discectomy. This surgery is for correcting a herniated disc, a condition that frequently causes neck and/or arm pain. The procedure involves going in through the front of the neck, removing the herniated disc, and fusing the surrounding discs together. It may sound complex, but it can even be done as an outpatient procedure in some circumstances.
2. Lumbar Puncture
Lumbar punctures, also known as spinal taps, are another very common neurosurgical procedure, and one of the relatively less complex procedures. To perform a lumbar puncture, a needle is inserted into the spinal canal to extract cerebrospinal fluid. This is a diagnostic surgery that tests for conditions related to the central nervous system. These can include illnesses such as leukemia and meningitis.
A craniotomy is a procedure that involves removing part of the skull bone to allow for direct access to the brain. This is one of the most common emergency neurosurgery procedures, and it is most often performed following a head injury or stroke. Removing part of the skull allows the brain to swell freely without being crushed by the skull. It is also done to allow surgeons to operate directly on the brain, to remove a tumor for example.
Laminectomies are procedures that can relieve severe back pain. This surgery involves creating small incisions along the spine and removing all or part of a vertebra. This corrects issues related to the spinal cord and nerve pain. It is usually not the first course of treatment but is used if other treatments are not effective, or if there are symptoms of nerve damage in addition to the pain.
5. Chiari Decompression
This neurosurgical procedure is performed on patients who have a condition known as the Arnold-Chiari malformation. This condition causes a lack of balance due to a malformation in the part of the brain that controls balance. The Chiari decompression, used to treat this condition, is just the removal of a bone in the back of the skull. This can improve the patient’s coordination and balance.
Do You Need Neurosurgery?
If you have a condition that you think might benefit from a neurosurgeon’s expertise, it is better to make an appointment sooner rather than later. If you are not sure where to start, take a look at this guide to finding a neurosurgeon.
If you are located in the Nashville, TN area and are in need of neurosurgery procedures, we would be happy to help you at the Howell Allen Clinic. We are brain and spine specialists, and we have 20 locations across middle Tennessee. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.