Cranial surgery, also referred to as “craniotomy” is a surgery to cut a bony opening in the skull. A section of the skull is removed to access the brain underneath. A craniotomy may be small or large depending on the problem. It may be performed to treat brain tumors, hematomas (blood clots), aneurysms or AVMs, traumatic head injury, foreign objects (bullets), swelling of the brain, or infection. The bone flap that was initially removed is usually replaced at the end of the procedure with tiny plates and screws.
A tumor is an abnormal growth of cells. Tumors that start in the pituitary gland are called pituitary tumors. The pituitary is considered the “master control gland” because it makes the hormones that control the levels of hormones made by most of the other endocrine glands in the body. Almost all pituitary tumors are benign (not cancer) glandular tumors called pituitary adenomas. These tumors are called benign because they don’t spread to other parts of the body like cancers can. But even benign pituitary tumors can cause major health problems because they are close to the brain and may invade nearby tissues. Pituitary cancers are very rare.
Microvascular decompression (MVD) is a surgical procedure to relieve facial pain and muscle twitching symptoms caused by abnormal compression of a cranial nerve or artery/vein. This is called trigeminal neuralgia, glossopharyngeal neuralgia, or hemifacial spasm. MVD involves opening the skull (craniotomy) and inserting a sponge between the nerve and offending artery/vein triggering the pain signals. It provides the longest duration of relief from trigeminal neuralgia pain, and the lowest rate of permanent numbness of the face after surgery.
Minimally Invasive Brain Endoscopy
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