Neurosurgery is a small sector of the medical field. Only one out of every 200 doctors are neurosurgeons. New technology is making their job easier. One of the latest developments in the field is interventional neurosurgery. Interventional neurosurgery is a rapidly developing medical field. With today’s many advances in the science of interventional neurosurgery, patients can experience a better quality of life. Interventional neurosurgery uses catheters guided through the blood vessels and radiology to treat and diagnose many different conditions affecting the central nervous system. Vikas Patel, MD, explores the many exciting advances taking place in the field of interventional neurosurgery and how they can help patients with a variety of life-threatening disorders.
What is Interventional Neurosurgery?
Interventional neurosurgery is the practice of treating neurological conditions and diseases using catheterized tools that can pass through the blood vessels. This technique is far less invasive than other types of neurosurgery, some of which can involve a great deal of recovery time and risk of infection. The non-invasive nature of interventional neurosurgery allows patients to recover more quickly and resume normal activities in a timely manner.
What Procedures are Covered under Interventional Neurosurgery?
Cerebral angiography is a radiological procedure that tracks the flow of blood through the brain and is the gold standard to identify cerebrovascular pathology. It can be highly useful when aneurysms or strokes are suspected. One of the most common techniques is called mechanical thrombectomy. This method uses catheter devices to retrieve clots that are causing life threatening strokes and prevent death and disability. Endovascular coiling is a treatment for a brain aneurysm. The surgeon guides a thin metal wire through blood vessels to the brain where the aneurysm is located. The wire has a coil at the end. Coiling of the aneurysm can effectively treat the aneurysm and restore normal blood flow to the brain. Minimally invasive endovascular spinal surgery is another aspect of interventional neurosurgery. Using the catheter model, doctors are able to work on small areas of the spine which are causing serious problems. Again, the minimally invasive model represents fewer risks for the patient and a higher chance of success for the procedure.
Recent Advances in the Field
A 2019 study published in Acta Biomedica describes many recent advances in the science of interventional neurosurgery. Advanced imaging techniques and 3-D visualization are able to help surgeons precisely target their work. Using MR-tractography imaging helps interventional neurosurgeons target peripheral nerve tumors. This enables the neurosurgeon to fully examine the area that needs attention before surgery begins. A close examination of the surgery site can lead to better results. Radiation-induced brain cavernomas are also treatable with these new techniques. A brain cavernoma occurs when a cluster of abnormal blood vessels form in the spinal cord and brain. They are also known as cavernous hemangiomas. Using the most advanced imaging and catheterization tools, doctors are able to treat these conditions even in elderly patients. Robotics are making their presence known in neurosurgery. Transradial robotic carotid stenting is being performed in the United States. This has the potential to make surgery more precise and quicker to perform.
The Science of Interventional Neurosurgery
Interventional neurosurgery has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of many serious disorders. Strokes, aneurysms, blood clots, and abnormal vessels are all treatable using this technique, along with peripheral nerve tumors. Since science is developing so quickly, patients and doctors alike should stay abreast of the newest advances. Vikas Patel believes that neurosurgery will always be a complex undertaking, but with the imaging-guided models used today, a greater degree of precision can be achieved. Patients with life-threatening disorders are more likely to achieve recovery. Keeping track of all of the advances in interventional neurosurgery is a must for doctors who treat these conditions and patients who have experienced these surgeries.