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UR Medicine / Neurosurgery / Services / Treatments / Endoscopic Neurosurgery


Endoscopic Neurosurgery

For more information, please visit our Integrated Spine Care site or our Comprehensive Brain and Spinal Tumor Program site

What is it?

Endoscopy is the technique of using a tube with a lens and a light source to look into a body cavity through a small opening. An endoscope is like a small camera that looks at the pathology or problem. The endoscope has a light source and is connected to a monitor. The surgery is performed while looking at the screen and actual target size is magnified more than a 100 times. This approach parallels the advance from open abdominal surgery to laparoscopic surgery. The purpose is to get to the target pathology or problem while minimizing the trauma to the surrounding tissues. This approach can be used to treat both brain and spine disease in neurosurgery.

What is its goal?

The goal of surgery depends on what the procedure is for. This may be to remove a tumor, biopsy a mass, decompress a cranial nerve, remove a herniated disc, or treat any number of neurosurgical problems.

How is it done?

In minimally invasive endoscopic brain surgery we intend to reach pathology like a tumor through natural openings, like a nostril or small incisions with minimal or no brain retraction. An endoscope is inserted into this opening and used to visualize and perform the neurosurgical operation. The surgery is performed while looking at a monitor which displays magnified real-time video from the endoscope. The rest of the surgery is done with the similar techniques as to open surgery, but requires the use of special instruments and allows for less retraction and chance of injury to the brain. The same principles are used for operations of the spine.

What are the risks?

The risks are mostly the same as for open surgery and are specific the area of the brain or spine being operated on and the nature of the disease or pathology. However, as less retraction is needed most of these risk are decreased compared to open surgery.

What is the success rate?

Because of the surgical precision provided by the endoscope the success rate is very high.

How long will I stay in the hospital?

This is largely dependent on the particular pathology or disease but most hospital stays are last 1-3 days.

What is special about the way we deliver this treatment?

Minimally invasive endoscopic brain surgery requires a smaller opening and less brain retraction when compared with the conventional surgery. Better visualization and less retraction makes surgery safer. In addition, as smaller incisions utilized and less tissue disruption is caused, endoscopic neurosurgery is general less painful and has a quicker recovery than open surgery.