Westmead Neurosurgery - Surgery of Brain & Spine Westmead Neurosurgery - Surgery of Brain & Spine
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Westmead Neurosurgery - Surgery of Brain & Spine Westmead Neurosurgery - Surgery of Brain & Spine
Westmead Neurosurgery - Surgery of Brain & Spine
Patient Info

What is Neurosurgery?

Broadly speaking, Neurosurgery refers to surgery on the nervous system. This includes the brain, and the blood vessels supplying it, the spine and spinal cord, and nerves in the body that control our movements and allow us to feel sensation.

There are many different areas of neurosurgery, and the majority of people will never need to consult a neurosurgeon.

In the Brain ("Brain Surgery") some of the conditions commonly seen include:

  • Brain Aneurysms - Weaknesses on blood vessels that can burst, leading to death or stroke

  • Carotid Stenosis - Narrowing of the arteries supplying the brain, possible leading to stroke or a warning 'TIA'

  • Vascular Malformations - Which can bleed - some are congenital (meaning we are born with them), and some develop later in life

  • Brain Tumours - Both benign (often curable with surgery) and malignant (sadly often incurable, but sometimes controllable with surgery)

  • Acoustic Neuromas - A kind of tumour at the base of the brain, related to the hearing nerves

  • Trigeminal Neuralgia - Terrible 'spasms' of facial pain that are often curable with surgery

  • Hemifacial Spasm - Involuntary twitching on one side of the face - often curable with surgery

  • Hydrocephalus - A build up of fluid in the brain - sometimes treatable with an endoscope (a surgical camera) or with a shunt (to divert the fluid)

  • Head Injury - Blood clots ('haematomas') can develop after a head injury and some need to be removed with surgery

Some of the spinal conditions treated (in both the lower back and neck) include:

  • Herniated or 'Slipped' disc - Which presses on a nerve in the spine causing 'sciatica' (or pain in the leg)

  • Narrowing of the Spinal Canal - Causing leg or arm weakness or pain

  • Compression of the Spinal Cord - Causing arm and leg weakness or difficulty with fine movements

  • Tumours in the spine

  • Blood vessel abnormalities in the spine

  • Back Pain - Sometimes requiring treatment with 'spinal fusion'

Peripheral Nerve problems treated by a neurosurgeon include:

  • Carpal tunnel Syndrome - Burning and weakness in the hands, often worse at night

  • Ulnar Nerve Compression - Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, but caused by compression of a nerve at the elbow

  • Leg weakness caused by compression of nerves in the leg

  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

  • Nerve tumours in various places in the body and extremities

A Neurosurgeon has unique training to be able to treat many of these potentially life altering, or life threatening problems.

A Brain Aneurysm that has been clipped A Cervical Plate - used in
the neck
CT Scan of an extradural
blood clot (haematoma)
Extradural haematoma before surgery Extradural haematoma after
An extradural blood clot preop
Skull fragments repaired with
Brain aneurysm before surgery Brain aneurysm after clipping
Fractured ('broken") neck preop Fractured neck after repair with screws and rods  
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