Neurosurgeon in Action: Risks in Performing Brain Surgeries


Neurosurgeons are medical doctors specializing in diagnosing and treating disorders of the human nervous system through surgical operations. Among the several diseases treated within their specialisation include trauma, tumours, vascular disorders, brain infections, and strokes. They also perform surgeries for spines, brain and spinal tumour removal, and surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome.

A day in the life of a neurosurgeon is demanding, challenging, and extremely busy – from performing surgeries over long hours to assessing and diagnosing patients, and tending to various emergencies. Not to mention that they also have personal problems of their own.

What motivates neurosurgeons the most, such as Dr. Timothy Steel, is that they are able to study how the brain works, and be able to see patients recover from brain disorders. Improvement is their only option after facing constant challenges regarding the most important organ of the body.

Understanding Brain Surgeries

Brain surgery involves creating a hole in the skull and removing a bone flap to access the brain and repair structural problems in the brain. It’s a highly invasive procedure that needs excellent expertise in the field from the surgeon and its operating team.

Neurosurgeons make use of endoscopes inserted to the hole as it comes with a light, camera, and other tools placed on it to complete the operation. High-technology imaging methods are used as well to guide the surgeon to the right area in the brain.

Different Types of Brain Surgeries

There are different types of brain surgeries. A biopsy is the process of removing a small amount of tissue, studied for abnormalities. And craniotomy is the one described as open brain surgery, wherein the brain tissues are required to be exposed. There are also cases that the patient needs to be awake and responsive under local anesthesia. The type of surgery depends on the requirement of the brain condition, and as prescribed by the neurosurgeon.

Brain surgeries remove tumours, treat skill fracture, relieve pressure due to injuries, drain an infected area, repair aneurysm, and many more. The risks of operations in the brain are higher compared to other types of surgeries. The patients could lose their memory, vision, balance, and ability to talk. Complications such as bleeding, infections, inflammations, and fluid accumulations can happen. Stroke, coma, and seizures are also risks associated with brain operations. 

Responsibilities of Neurosurgeons

The stake is always high for the patients of neurosurgery. A neurosurgeon should be great with his or her hands. No one would risk their lives for a doctor who lacks skill and competence. In the case of neurosurgeons operating, even a wrong flick of the fingers can compromise the whole surgery. Hence dexterity that comes with practice is a crucial skill for a neurosurgeon. 

Because a patient’s brain condition is literally in a neurosurgeon’s hand, there should be no room for mistakes. They should be updated with the evolving and improving methods, devices, and procedures in the field. They should be accurate in dealing with people as neurosurgical patients mostly constitute the biggest percentage who need serious care and medication, and there is a higher risk of losing a person suffering from brain injuries and disorders.

Thus, being a neurosurgeon is a great deal for physicians like Dr. Timothy Steel. Undergoing a surgery like this means that the traditional way of treating disorders is not enough – an operation which peeks inside your brain is required. And since science is continually changing along with discoveries found in a human brain, neurosurgeons should be responsive through the development of their techniques in treating disorders of the brain and other parts of the nervous system.

Melinda is a freelance writer.

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Melinda Myers is a horticulturist, certified arborist, gardening expert, television/radio host, columnist, and author with more than 30 years of horticulture experience. She earned her B.S. in Horticulture from The Ohio State University and her M.S. in Horticulture from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Before launching her own business in 2006, she was a tenured associate professor at the University of Wisconsin Extension Service and a tenured horticulture instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Her numerous awards include two Garden Media Awards from the Garden Writers Association, the Garden Communicator of the Year Award from the American Nursery & Landscape Association, the Gold Leaf Award from the International Society of Arboriculture, the Perennial Plant Association Garden Media Promoter Award, and the American Horticultural Society's B. Y. Morrison Communication Award for effective and inspirational communication. Ms. Myers is the author and coauthor of more than 20 gardening books, including Can't Miss Small Space Gardening and Birds & Blooms' Ultimate Gardening Guide. She is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Gardening How-To, and Wisconsin Gardening. A seasoned media presence, Ms. Myers hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda's Garden Moment and appears regularly on various national and local shows. For more than 20 years, she hosted The Plant Doctor radio program, seven seasons of Great Lakes Gardener on PBS, and the nationally syndicated YardWorks!