As an extremely complex structure, the brain can be affected by countless different conditions and injuries.
However, there are some conditions that are particularly commonly treated by the neurosurgery team at The London Independent Hospital.
“Brain tumours are one of the main reasons why patients are referred for neurosurgery,” says Mr Shoakazemi. “Some types of brain tumour can be treated, while others can only be managed using a combination of treatments”.
A diagnosis of a brain tumour can be extremely scary, but not all brain tumours are necessarily malignant. Non-cancerous (benign) brain tumours tend to grow relatively slowly and stay in one place, rather than spreading. If the tumour can be completely and surgically removed, it is unlikely to grow back. However, if some tumour cells remain, it could return in the future. In this instance, you’ll be monitored in the months and years after your surgery.
Unfortunately, some brain tumours are cancerous, and some patients who have cancer in other areas of their body may suffer from a condition called brain metastases. This is where the primary cancer has spread, leading to the formation of cancerous cells in the brain. These can also sometimes be treated with surgery, along with primary cancer brain tumours.
A craniotomy is the most common type of surgery used to treat a brain tumour.
Hydrocephalus is the term used to describe a condition affecting the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The cerebrospinal fluid protects the brain from damage, removes waste products and provides the brain with the nutrients it needs to function properly.
In hydrocephalus, cerebrospinal fluid builds up in the brain, putting pressure on it that could lead to temporary or permanent brain damage. Without treatment, it can prove fatal.
Pituitary tumour removal
An endocrinologist may refer you to a neurosurgeon if you have a pituitary tumour that is pressing on the optic nerve, affecting your eyesight. It may also be recommended if your pituitary tumour is overproducing certain hormones.
Although some pituitary tumours can be removed via the nose, many require a craniotomy, particularly if the tumour is large or complex.
Traumatic brain injuries
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a disruption in the normal function of the brain caused by a bump, blow or other sudden impact to the head, or if something suddenly penetrates the skull and brain tissue.
TBIs can vary significantly, and can cause a wide range of cognitive symptoms — from headaches and confusion to paralysis and loss of bladder or bowel control.
Neurosurgery may be needed to remove a large haematoma (blood clot) or contusion that is compressing the brain and raising the pressure within the skull.
Everyone has 12 pairs of cranial nerves. These run from the brain to various parts of the head, neck and body and are responsible for either your senses, movement or, in some cases, both.
Nerve pain, or neuralgia, can occur in any of these nerves, but is most often associated with the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerves run up each side of the side and are responsible for providing sensation to the face.
Trigeminal neuralgia is sometimes referred to as the “most excruciating pain known to humanity” and normally affects the lower half of the face and jaw. Surgery can be an effective treatment for patients who find that medications are no longer providing relief.