When we think of endoscopy, we invariably think of a tool used for diagnosing gastro or urological conditions. Seldom, if ever, do we associate endoscopy with the brain or spine, although this technology has been used for both diagnosing and treating neurological disorders for nearly three decades.
When I started endoscopic surgeries in the early 1990’s following my training in Germany , it was probably a first in Karnataka. Endoscopes in those days were primitive in design. In the last two decades, however, the technology has witnessed phenomenal development . As a result, neuro-endoscopy has now emerged as a frontline surgical solution for treating serious brain and spine diseases including tumours.
The procedure uses specialised endoscopes tailor-made for performing complex surgeries with minimal invasion. An endoscope is a small device that looks like a telescope; it has a high-resolution video camera tipped with an eye piece.
To use it, specialists insert the endoscope through a small opening close to the site of operation. Aided by advanced lighting systems the endoscope gives surgeons a detailed view of the insides, infinitely superior to what is possible with traditional methods. The images are visible on a computer monitor by the surgical table, enabling surgeons to operate with great precision.
Advantages of Neuro Endoscopy:
Apart from being precise, neuro endoscopy is far less invasive, requiring just a small opening. It heals much faster, is relatively less painful and reduces the time a patient needs to spend in a hospital.
When I started endoscopic surgeries in the early 1990’s following my training in Germany , it was probably a first in Karnataka. Endoscopes in those days were primitive in design. In the last two decades the technology has witnessed phenomenal development .”
The tumors that can be treated with neuro-endoscopy are:
- Ventricular tumours of the brain
- Midline skull-base tumours
- Pituitary tumours
- Spinal tumours
Among other conditions that are suitable for this minimally invasive procedure are:
- Brain haemorrhage
- Brain abscess
- Brain cysts
Hydrocephalus which is a condition with excessive fluid in the head is now treated with an endoscopy called “ 3rd Ventriculostomy.” Shunt tubes can thus be avoided.