Athens Brain & Spine seeks to provide clear, understandable, non-technical information about the medical conditions that usually require brain surgery. We firmly believe in patient education so that you are well informed about the techniques and skills needed for successful surgery on the brain. We desire for you to understand you or your loved one’s medical condition and also help you ask the most appropriate questions of the brain surgeon(s) and other healthcare professionals involved in your care.

Below is a list of treatments and procedures for the brain. This list is not meant to be a complete list but rather cover the most common types for brain treatments and procedures.

The concept of stereotactic brain surgery is simple. This technique uses images of the brain to guide the surgeon to a target within the brain. This technique may utilize an external frame attached to the head (frame-based) or imaging markers attached to the scalp (frameless or image-guided surgery).

Chiari malformation is a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. Occurring when part of the skull is small or misshapen, it forces the brain downward; Chiari malformation may be congenital, it may develop over time, or it may be the result of trauma to the skull.

Pituitary adenomas are benign tumors which arise from the pituitary gland itself. They are almost never malignant. Pituitary tumors can be either secretory or nonsecretory, referring to whether they overproduce pituitary hormones. What this means is that a tumor which is secretory is secreting, or releasing, excessive hormones into the bloodstream, potentially causing disease.

A stroke is damage to the brain that occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. This deprives brain cells of oxygen and they begin to die. How a person is affected by their stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged. At Athens Brain & Spine, one of the treatments we use to help stroke victims is a decompressive craniectomy.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a brain dysfunction caused by an outside force, usually a violent blow to the head. A concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury, but severe cases of TBI may permanently change a patient’s life. A brain injury is different from a broken limb or punctured lung. An injury in these areas limit the use of a specific part of your body, but your personality and mental abilities remain unchanged.

A cerebrospinal fluid shunt is a type of cerebral shunt used to alleviate the buildup of excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) on the brain. That sounds like a lot of big scary words, but it’s actually a common medical procedure and a life-saving treatment for many patients. These shunt systems drain excess fluid from the brain to another part of the body where the fluid is absorbed as part of the circulatory process.

While it may sound like a serious procedure, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is actually a form of radiology treatment. You won’t have to undergo anesthesia and no incisions will be made on your body. Instead, a robotic arm controlled by a computer will focus radiation on the precise area being treated. The treatment may take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, and while you may need several treatment sessions, you usually won’t need anything in excess of five visits.

A biopsy simply means the removal of a sample of tumor tissue, which can be sent off for various tests to help determine further course of action. At Athens Brain & Spine, we use stereotactic navigation to aid the biopsy process. A stereotactic brain biopsy uses 3D imaging to map the brain and guide the process of extracting tissue so as to be as minimally invasive as possible. The risks associated with stereotactic brain biopsy are minimal. Sometimes the sample of tissue obtained may be non-diagnostic, which may warrant a repeat biopsy.

A concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head or violent shaking of the head and body. Minor concussions may be hard to identify and can be treated by physical and physiological rest for a short period of time. More serious concussions, up to and including concussions resulting in a loss of consciousness, may require more serious management.