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Building B, Suite 424
Dallas, TX 75230

WHAT DOES SURGERY ENTAIL?

Most patients scheduled for a Neurosurgical operation are admitted to the Hospital on the morning of the scheduled operation.

Discussions with the Neurosurgeon

Well prior to your scheduled operation you will have the opportunity to visit with your Neurosurgeon and review the clinical condition that has brought you to him. He will explain the natural history of the disease as well as the therapeutic alternatives with their relative risks and limitations. He will discuss the indications for and specific risks and benefits of the proposed operation in detail, and answer any more questions that you or your family members might have. This is the time for you to ask whatever questions are on your mind.

Prepare for this meeting beforehand by reviewing the written information that he shared with you, as well as any other information that you have identified will assist you in remembering all that you want to during that important personal time with your Surgeon. It is often wise to have another person with you when you visit with your Neurosurgeon, since they may help you to focus on some issues that are unique to you such as your particular family, social and financial situation and how these relate to your medical condition.

The Neurosurgeons of Neurosurgical Consultants work with a team of highly trained health care professionals. They will attend to all of your medical needs.

Among the members of this team are: Neurosurgeon(s) Neurosurgery Nurses, Neuro-anesthesiologists, Intensive Care Specialists, Internists, Craniofacial Plastic Surgeons, Neuro-otologists, Neuro-ophthalmologists, Endocrinologists, Neuroradiologists, various technicians and other members from Medical/Surgical disciplines that are called upon as your condition warrants. Your Surgeon will discuss the role of each of these team members as you go through this care process. The Hospital also has Pastoral care available.

A few basic tests will provide your Neurosurgeon with information essential to planning an optimal surgical approach. These may include:

  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Chest X-ray
  • Blood and Urine tests
  • Special Neuroimaging tests such as CT and/or MRI Angiography, Catheter Angiography, Myelography, etc. may also be required depending on the particular circumstances of the individual patient.

Neuro-anesthesia

The Neuro-anesthesiologist, who will assist your Neurosurgeon during the operation, will also talk with you the evening prior to surgery and visit with you before giving you any medication. He/she will need to ask questions regarding your medical history, medications you may be taking, allergies you may have had and any previous operations you may have experienced.

Neurosurgery Nurses

The Neurosurgery Nurses are very experienced in caring for patients who undergo Brain and/or Spine surgery. They will discuss with you what to expect before and following the operation.

The Operation

Brain and Spine surgery typically take several hours, depending upon the type of procedure being performed and the condition being treated. General anesthesia is used for most Cranial and Spine operations. The initial anaesthetic medication is given through an intravenous (IV) catheter. Anaesthesia for the entire operation is maintained by anaesthetic gases delivered to your lungs through a flexible pipe that is connected to a slender tube placed in your windpipe (trachea) by the Neuro-anesthesiologist. Precisely measured doses of the anaesthetic gases are delivered by a special machine that is controlled by the Neuro-anesthesiologist.

Patients may be positioned upon their backs, on either side or even sitting up for Brain operations. The hair over the anticipated incision area is usually cut and shaved by the Neurosurgeon, followed by a cleansing of the scalp.

For Spine operations, patients can be positioned on their back, either side or on their abdomen. Specially padded "frames" are used when positioning patients in the "prone" (face-down) position.

Your vital signs are constantly monitored by special machines during the operation and observed by the Neuro-anesthesiologist who remains by your side throughout the procedure. He is in direct communication with the surgical team at all times.

Intra-operative Neurophysiologic Monitoring incorporates special technology that measures particular nervous system capabilities (such as Hearing, Facial Muscle function, Sensation to the Face, Sensation in the extremities, etc.) For certain Neurosurgical procedures, this type of monitoring is invaluable and quite routine (such as during Acoustic Schwannoma surgery where we are attempting Hearing Conservation, Microvascular Decompression operations for Trigeminal or Glossopharyngeal Neuralgias and Hemifacial Spasm, to name but a few.)

Immediate Post-operative Care

Once the surgery is completed, your Neurosurgeon will see that you are safely transferred to the care of the Recovery Room. Only after that, will he talk directly with your family members.

When you waken from anesthesia and appear stable, you will be transferred to the next level of care in the hospital.

Patients undergoing Brain Surgery or extensive Spine Surgery will be carefully monitored by the specially qualified nurses in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Most Spine surgery patients will go to the "Day Surgery" (out-patient surgical) facility while others may be admitted to the hospital's Neurosurgery ward.

Your family/friends will be able to visit with you once you are settled into that care-level area of the hospital.


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This page last edited on 2/19

All content ©2016 by Neurosurgical Consultants, P.A.
Author, Martin L. Lazar, MD, FACS
All Rights Reserved. See Usage Notices.