If your doctor has recommended surgery to treat a brain or spine condition, you'll want a neurosurgeon who's experienced in a wide range of techniques. This includes the latest minimally invasive options, which ensure faster recovery times and the best possible outcomes. Here's what you need to know before scheduling a procedure.
Types of Neurosurgery
Minimally Invasive Surgery
- MRI-guided surgeries: MRI imaging allows surgeons to reach and treat the problem area more precisely, reducing damage to healthy brain tissue.
- Neuroendoscopy: Using an endoscope, a flexible tube with a light and camera on the end, surgeons can access the brain via the mouth, nose or a small entry into the skull, allowing them to remove a tumor or perform another procedure.
If minimally invasive procedures aren't an option, the surgeon may recommend a more traditional route. Conventional brain surgery is often the best method to remove a tumor or unhealthy tissue, treat an aneurysm, drain fluid or treat an infection, or free a trapped nerve.
Your doctor has recommended surgery for a brain tumor, learn what to expect from Cedars-Sinai as you prepare for treatment.
Preparing for Surgery
Depending on the type of surgery you require, you will be cared for by a comprehensive and dedicated team which may include the combination of the following:
- Primary care physicians
- Registered nurses (RNs), to help with overall care during your stay
- Physical and occupational therapists, to help strengthen your muscles, regain balance, and improve physical and everyday functioning
- Speech therapists, to help regain your cognitive, communication and swallowing skills, if needed
- Psychologists, to help you cope with the emotional and physical changes you may experience
- Social workers, to help you and your family adapt to changes in your home and social life, career and financial circumstances
- Case managers, who are nurses assigned to oversee your transition from intensive care through your recovery and discharge
Every procedure is different. To be fully prepared, ask your doctor what will happen before, during and after your surgery. Questions may include:
- Should I stop taking medications or nutritional supplements days or weeks ahead of surgery?
- How long will my procedure take?
- What type of surgery will I have? Will it be a minimally invasive procedure?
- What are the possible complications, even if they're uncommon?
- How long will I stay in the hospital?
- What will I need to manage pain and care for the wound after surgery?
- Will I need to go to a rehab facility after leaving the hospital?
- How much ongoing care will I need at home? And how long would I need that type of care?
- What will my life be like after surgery? Can you share other patient experiences?
- A list of your medications, with dosages and frequency
- Things you'll need to be comfortable during your hospital stay, including personal-use items such as glasses, hearing aids, dentures, and a robe and slippers
- Your emergency contact information
- A copy of your advance health directive (the legal paperwork about how you want your care handled)
- Valuable items such as jewelry, credit cards, wallets and watches (If you do bring valuables, you'll be asked to secure them in a vault, and you can reclaim them when you leave)
- Your medications—any medicine you need will be supplied for you
Learn how the department of Neurology and Neurosurgery are advancing knowledge in their fields through clinical trials, and find out how research can help improve patient outcomes and quality of life.