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Other Brain-Related Conditions and Emergencies

Patients need neurosurgeons for other types of acute brain conditions in addition to stroke, and these are always serious medical events, often of an urgent nature:

  • hemmSubarachnoid hemorrhage is bleeding into the subarachnoid space–the area between the arachnoid membrane just inside the skull and the pia mater surrounding the brain. This may occur spontaneously, usually from a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, or may result from head injury.

Endovascular techniques are preferred for treating a subarchanoid bleed.   In these cases, the surgeon as neurointerventionalist can use catheters to attempt to insert a tiny coil that will help to clot the bleeding or use a type of surgical (embolizing) glue that will also stop the bleeding.   Alternatively, these specialists may access the site externally, through the skull, and clip the bleeding location.

  • Trauma injury to the brain can cause different types of bleeding and swelling that must be monitored and sometimes directly relieved through surgical procedures.

Infections involving the brain require an intensive level of care.   Swelling and irritation (inflammation) develop in response to infection and seriously compromise the brain.   Meningitis is the inflammation of the meninges, the surrounding three-layered membranes of the brain and spinal cord, and the fluid it is bathed in, called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).  Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain itself.   If medical means fail to control an infection that causes an abscess (a collection of pus, immune cells, and other material in the brain, usually from a bacterial or fungal infection), a neurosurgeon may need to access the location and drain it.

Careful and precise neurologic imaging and lab testing is essential in addressing all of these needs, in order to identify the exact status of the brain and locations to which to direct medical and neurosurgical interventions.

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