Most patients scheduled for a Neurosurgical operation are
admitted to the Hospital on the morning of the scheduled
Well prior to your scheduled operation you will have the
opportunity to visit with your Neurosurgeon and review the
clinical condition that has brought you to him.
He will explain the natural history of the disease as
well as the therapeutic alternatives with their relative risks
and limitations. He will discuss the indications
for and specific risks and benefits of the proposed
operation in detail, and answer any more questions
that you or your family members might have. This is the time
for you to ask whatever questions are on your mind.
Prepare for this meeting beforehand by
reviewing the written information that he shared with you, as
well as any other information that you have identified will
assist you in remembering all that you want to during that
important personal time with your Surgeon. It is
often wise to have another person with you when you visit
with your Neurosurgeon, since they may help you to
focus on some issues that are unique to you such as your
particular family, social and financial situation and how these
relate to your medical condition.
The Neurosurgeons of Neurosurgical Consultants work with
a team of highly trained health care professionals.
They will attend to all of your medical needs.
Among the members of this team are:
Intensive Care Specialists,
Craniofacial Plastic Surgeons,
various technicians and other members from Medical/Surgical
disciplines that are called upon as your condition warrants.
Your Surgeon will discuss the role of each of these team members
as you go through this care process. The Hospital also
has Pastoral care available.
A few basic tests will provide your Neurosurgeon with
information essential to planning an optimal surgical approach.
These may include:
who will assist your Neurosurgeon during the operation, will
also talk with you the evening prior to surgery and visit
with you before giving you any medication. He/she will
need to ask questions regarding your medical history,
medications you may be taking, allergies you may have had and
any previous operations you may have experienced.
The Neurosurgery Nurses
are very experienced in caring for patients who undergo Brain
and/or Spine surgery. They will discuss with you what to expect
before and following the operation.
Brain and Spine surgery typically take several hours,
depending upon the type of procedure being performed and the
condition being treated. General anesthesia is used for
most Cranial and Spine operations. The initial anaesthetic
medication is given through an intravenous (IV) catheter.
Anaesthesia for the entire operation is maintained by
anaesthetic gases delivered to your lungs through a
flexible pipe that is connected to a slender tube placed in
your windpipe (trachea) by the Neuro-anesthesiologist.
Precisely measured doses of the anaesthetic gases are delivered
by a special machine that is controlled by the
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Chest X-ray
- Blood and Urine tests
- Special Neuroimaging tests such as CT and/or MRI
Angiography, Catheter Angiography, Myelography, etc.
may also be required depending on the particular
circumstances of the individual patient.
Patients may be positioned upon their backs, on either
side or even sitting up for Brain operations. The hair over the
anticipated incision area is usually cut and shaved by the
Neurosurgeon, followed by a cleansing of the scalp.
For Spine operations, patients can be positioned on their
back, either side or on their abdomen. Specially padded "frames"
are used when positioning patients in the "prone" (face-down)
Your vital signs are constantly monitored by special
machines during the operation and observed by the
Neuro-anesthesiologist who remains by your side
throughout the procedure. He is in direct communication with
the surgical team at all times.
Intra-operative Neurophysiologic Monitoring
incorporates special technology that measures particular
nervous system capabilities (such as Hearing, Facial Muscle
function, Sensation to the Face, Sensation in the extremities,
etc.) For certain Neurosurgical procedures,
this type of monitoring is invaluable and quite
routine (such as during
surgery where we are attempting Hearing Conservation,
Microvascular Decompression operations for
Trigeminal or Glossopharyngeal Neuralgias and Hemifacial Spasm,
to name but a few.)
Once the surgery is completed, your Neurosurgeon will
see that you are safely transferred to the care of the
Recovery Room. Only after that, will he talk directly with
your family members.
When you waken from anesthesia and appear stable, you
will be transferred to the next level of care in the
Patients undergoing Brain Surgery or extensive Spine
Surgery will be carefully monitored by the specially qualified
nurses in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Most Spine surgery patients will go to the "Day Surgery"
(out-patient surgical) facility while others may be
admitted to the hospital's Neurosurgery ward.
Your family/friends will be able to visit with you once
you are settled into that care-level area of the hospital.
Return to the Top of the Page
This page last edited on 2/19