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Revolutionizing Brain Health: The Future of Functional Neurosurgery

Blog, N. (2019, October 29). What the Heck is Functional Neurosurgery? Restoring our Patients’ Quality of Life - Neurosurgery Blog. Neurosurgery Blog.

Hi! My name is Phoebe, and ever since I was a kid, I've been interested in neurosurgery. Particularly, I've always found functional neurosurgery fascinating. Before getting into the science of functional neurosurgery and its significance to neurosurgery in general, it is important to define what it is. Functional neurosurgery is a branch of neurosurgery that specializes in treating patients with chronic neurological conditions like Parkinson's disease, Tourette syndrome, cerebral palsy, and even chronic pain in general. From performing hemispherectomies (surgeries that involve removing part of the brain) to using electrical currents and stimulators, functional neurosurgeons employ a variety of methods to treat patients. Deep brain stimulation is a newer method that involves planting electrodes in precise locations of the brain to help with neurological diseases.

Hospitals, Y. (2018, March 24). How to treat Parkinson’s Disease using Deep brain stimulation? Yashoda Hospitals.

Functional neurosurgery is a field of innovation and medical advancement that constantly finds new ways to integrate technology into medicine. It is constantly changing and updated in pursuit of more efficient ways to treat patients. For example, surgical options for people with epilepsy were previously limited to removing affected areas of the brain. Now, neurosurgeons are able to implant electrodes directly into affected regions of the patient's brain. These electrodes act as a "brain defibrillator". This "neurostimulation therapy" can greatly reduce seizures, and more innovations are on the way.

Deep Brain stimulation Surgery for Parkinson’s patient | Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Cleveland Clinic.

For patients with Parkinson's disease, functional neurosurgeons use neuromodulation technology (adjusting brain activity using electricity) like deep brain stimulation to improve stiffness and tremors in those with advanced Parkinson's disease. More innovations designed to help patients are also being tested, such as gene therapy trials designed to reverse degeneration in the brain.

Functional neurosurgery is an extremely interesting and necessary branch of neurosurgery. If you are interested in learning more, I've included some articles below for further research.


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