Neurological Surgery

Neurosurgery is the branch of medicine that deals with nervous system disorders—both disorders and injuries—surgically. Commonly treated brain and spinal cord conditions include brain tumors, movement disorders, hydrocephalus, and epilepsy.

Learn more about neurosurgery at the Mount Sinai Health System

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Diseases & Conditions
Acoustic neuroma
An acoustic neuroma is a slow-growing tumor of the nerve that connects the ear to the brain. This nerve is called the vestibular cochlear nerve. It is behind the ear, right under the brain. An acoustic...

Diseases & Conditions
An aneurysm is an abnormal widening or ballooning of a part of an artery due to weakness in the wall of the blood vessel.

Diseases & Conditions
Aneurysm in the brain
An aneurysm is a weak area in the wall of a blood vessel that causes the blood vessel to bulge or balloon out. When an aneurysm occurs in a blood vessel of the brain, it is called a cerebral, or intracranial...


Diseases & Conditions
Brain abscess
A brain abscess is a collection of pus, immune cells, and other material in the brain, caused by a bacterial or fungal infection.

Brain aneurysm repair
Brain aneurysm repair is surgery to correct an aneurysm. This is a weak area in a blood vessel wall that causes the vessel to bulge or balloon out and sometimes burst (rupture). It may cause: aneurysm Bleeding...

Discharge Instructions
Brain aneurysm repair - discharge
Aneurysm repair - cerebral - discharge; Cerebral aneurysm repair - discharge; Coiling - discharge; Saccular aneurysm repair - discharge; Berry aneurysm repair - discharge; Fusiform aneurysm repair - discharge...

Brain surgery
Brain surgery is an operation to treat problems in the brain and surrounding structures.

Discharge Instructions
Brain surgery - discharge
Craniotomy - discharge; Neurosurgery - discharge; Craniectomy - discharge; Stereotactic craniotomy - discharge; Stereotactic brain biopsy - discharge; Endoscopic craniotomy - discharge

Diseases & Conditions
Brain tumor - children
A brain tumor is a group (mass) of abnormal cells that grow in the brain. This article focuses on primary brain tumors in children.

Diseases & Conditions
Brain tumor - primary - adults
A primary brain tumor is a group (mass) of abnormal cells that start in the brain.


CSF smear
A cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) smear is a laboratory test to look for bacteria, fungi, and viruses in the fluid that moves in the space around the spinal cord and brain. CSF protects the brain and spinal cord...

CT angiography - head and neck
CT angiography (CTA) combines a CT scan with the injection of dye. CT stands for computed tomography. This technique is able to create pictures of the blood vessels in the head and neck.

Diseases & Conditions
Carotid artery disease
Carotid artery disease occurs when the carotid arteries become narrowed or blocked. The carotid arteries provide part of the main blood supply to your brain. They are located on each side of your neck....

Carotid duplex
Carotid duplex is an ultrasound test that shows how well blood is flowing through the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are located in the neck. They supply blood directly to the brain. ultrasound

Diseases & Conditions
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which there is excessive pressure on the median nerve. This is the nerve in the wrist that allows feeling and movement to parts of the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome...

Cerebral angiography
Cerebral angiography is a procedure that uses a special dye (contrast material) and x-rays to see how blood flows through the brain.

Diseases & Conditions
Cerebral arteriovenous malformation
A cerebral arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins in the brain that usually forms before birth.

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) culture
A cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) culture is a laboratory test to look for bacteria, fungi, and viruses in the fluid that moves in the space around the spinal cord. CSF protects the brain and spinal cord from...

Diseases & Conditions
Cervical spondylosis
Cervical spondylosis is a disorder in which there is wear on the cartilage (disks) and bones of the neck (cervical vertebrae). It is a common cause of chronic neck pain.

Diseases & Conditions
Chronic subdural hematoma
A chronic subdural hematoma is an "old" collection of blood and blood breakdown products between the surface of the brain and its outermost covering (the dura). The chronic phase of a subdural hematoma...

Special Topics
Cranial sutures
Cranial sutures are fibrous bands of tissue that connect the bones of the skull.

Diseases & Conditions
A craniopharyngioma is a noncancerous (benign) tumor that develops at the base of the brain near the pituitary gland. tumor

Diseases & Conditions
Craniosynostosis is a birth defect in which one or more sutures on a baby's head closes earlier than usual. The skull of an infant or young child is made up of bony plates that are still growing. The borders...

Craniosynostosis repair
Craniosynostosis repair is surgery to correct a problem that causes the bones of a child's skull to grow together (fuse) too early. Craniosynostosis

Discharge Instructions
Craniosynostosis repair - discharge
Craniectomy - child - discharge; Synostectomy - discharge; Strip craniectomy - discharge; Endoscopy-assisted craniectomy - discharge; Sagittal craniectomy - discharge; Frontal-orbital advancement - discharge...


Deep brain stimulation
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) uses a device called a neurostimulator to deliver electrical signals to the areas of the brain that control movement, pain, mood, weight, obsessive-compulsive thoughts, and...

Disk replacement - lumbar spine
Lumbar spine disk replacement is surgery of the lower back (lumbar) area. It is done to treat spinal stenosis or disk problems and allow normal movement of the backbone. Spinal stenosis is present when...

Diskectomy is surgery to remove all or part of the cushion that helps support part of your spinal column. These cushions are called disks, and they separate your spinal bones (vertebrae).


Endovascular embolization
Endovascular embolization is a procedure to treat abnormal blood vessels in the brain and other parts of the body. It is an alternative to open surgery. This procedure cuts off the blood supply to a certain...

Diseases & Conditions
Epidural abscess
An epidural abscess is a collection of pus (infected material) and germs between the outer covering of the brain and spinal cord and the bones of the skull or spine. The abscess causes swelling in the area...

Diseases & Conditions
Epidural hematoma
An epidural hematoma (EDH) is bleeding between the inside of the skull and the outer covering of the brain (called the dura).


Diseases & Conditions
Ganglioneuroblastoma is an intermediate tumor that arises from nerve tissues. An intermediate tumor is one that is between benign (slow-growing and unlikely to spread) and malignant (fast-growing, aggressive...


Self-Care Instructions
Halo brace
Halo orthosis

Head CT scan
A head computed tomography (CT) scan uses many x-rays to create pictures of the head, including the skull, brain, eye sockets, and sinuses. computed tomography

Head MRI
A head MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is an imaging test that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the brain and surrounding nerve tissues. It does not use radiation.

Diseases & Conditions
Herniated disk
A herniated (slipped) disk occurs when all or part of a disk is forced through a weakened part of the disk. This may place pressure on nearby nerves or the spinal cord.

Diseases & Conditions
Hydrocephalus is a buildup of fluid inside the skull that leads to brain swelling. Hydrocephalus means "water on the brain."

Diseases & Conditions
Hypothalamic tumor
A hypothalamic tumor is an abnormal growth in the hypothalamus gland, which is located in the brain. tumor hypothalamus


Intracranial pressure monitoring
Intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring uses a device placed inside the head. The monitor senses the pressure inside the skull and sends measurements to a recording device.


Laminectomy is surgery to remove the lamina. This is part of the bone that makes up a vertebra in the spine. Laminectomy may also be done to remove bone spurs or a herniated (slipped) disk in your spine...


Meningocele repair
Meningocele repair (also known as myelomeningocele repair) is surgery to repair birth defects of the spine and spinal membranes. Meningocele and myelomeningocele are types of spina bifida. spina bifida

Diseases & Conditions
Metastatic brain tumor
A metastatic brain tumor is cancer that started in another part of the body and has spread to the brain.

Movement - uncontrollable
Uncontrollable movements include many types of movements that you cannot control. They can affect the arms, legs, face, neck, or other parts of the body. Examples of uncontrollable movements are: Loss of...

Movement - uncontrolled or slow
Uncontrolled or slow movement is a problem with muscle tone, usually in the large muscle groups. The problem leads to slow, uncontrollable jerky movements of the head, limbs, trunk, or neck.

Movement - uncoordinated
Uncoordinated movement is due to a muscle control problem that causes an inability to coordinate movements. It leads to a jerky, unsteady, to-and-fro motion of the middle of the body (trunk) and an unsteady...

Movement - unpredictable or jerky
Jerky body movement is a condition in which a person makes fast movements that they cannot control and that have no purpose. These movements interrupt the person's normal movement or posture. The medical...

Diseases & Conditions
Mucormycosis is a fungal infection of the sinuses, brain, or lungs. It occurs in some people with a weakened immune system.

Diseases & Conditions
Myelomeningocele is a birth defect in which the backbone and spinal canal do not close fully before birth. The condition is a type of neural tube defect (NTD).


Diseases & Conditions
Normal pressure hydrocephalus
Hydrocephalus is a buildup of spinal fluid inside the fluid chambers of the brain. Hydrocephalus means "water on the brain." Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is a rise in the amount of cerebrospinal...


Diseases & Conditions
Pituitary tumor
A pituitary tumor is an abnormal growth in the pituitary gland. The pituitary is a small gland at the base of the brain. It regulates the body's balance of many hormones.

Diseases & Conditions
Posterior fossa tumor
Posterior fossa tumor is a type of brain tumor located in or near the bottom of the skull.


Radionuclide cisternogram
A radionuclide cisternogram is a nuclear scan test. It is used to diagnose problems with the flow of spinal fluid.

Diseases & Conditions
Retinoblastoma is a rare eye tumor that usually occurs in children. It is a malignant (cancerous) tumor of the part of the eye called the retina.


Special Topics
Spina bifida - resources

Diseases & Conditions
Spinal cord abscess
Spinal cord abscess is the swelling and irritation (inflammation) and the collection of infected material (pus) and germs in or around the spinal cord.

Spinal cord stimulation
Spinal cord stimulation is a treatment for pain that uses a mild electric current to block nerve impulses in the spine.

Diseases & Conditions
Spinal cord trauma
Spinal cord trauma is damage to the spinal cord. It may result from direct injury to the cord itself or indirectly from disease of the nearby bones, tissues, or blood vessels.

Spinal fusion
Spinal fusion is surgery to permanently join together two or more bones in the spine so there is no movement between them. These bones are called vertebrae.

Special Topics
Spinal injury - resources

Diseases & Conditions
Spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the spinal column that causes pressure on the spinal cord, or narrowing of the openings (called neural foramina) where spinal nerves leave the spinal column.

Discharge Instructions
Spine surgery - discharge
Diskectomy - discharge; Foraminotomy - discharge; Laminectomy - discharge; Spinal fusion - discharge; Spinal microdiskectomy - discharge; Microdecompression - discharge; Laminotomy - discharge; Disk removal...

Discharge Instructions
Stereotactic radiosurgery - discharge
Gamma knife - discharge; Cyberknife - discharge; Stereotactic radiotherapy - discharge; Fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy - discharge; Cyclotrons - discharge; Linear accelerator - discharge; Lineacs...

Diseases & Conditions
Stereotypic movement disorder
Stereotypic movement disorder is a condition in which a person makes repetitive, purposeless movements. These can be hand waving, body rocking, or head banging. The movements interfere with normal activity...

Diseases & Conditions
Subdural effusion
A subdural effusion is a collection of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) trapped between the surface of the brain and the outer lining of the brain (the dura matter). If this fluid becomes infected, the condition...

Sutures - ridged
Ridged sutures refer to an overlap of the bony plates of the skull in an infant, with or without early closure.

Diseases & Conditions
Syringomyelia is a cyst-like collection of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that forms in the spinal cord. Over time, it damages the spinal cord.


Diseases & Conditions
Transient ischemic attack
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops for a brief time. A person will have stroke-like symptoms for up to 24 hours. In most cases, the symptoms last for 1...

Diseases & Conditions
Trigeminal neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a nerve disorder. It causes a stabbing or electric shock-like pain in parts of the face.


Discharge Instructions
Ventriculoperitoneal shunt - discharge
Shunt - ventriculoperitoneal - discharge; VP shunt - discharge; Shunt revision - discharge; Hydrocephalus shunt placement - discharge

Ventriculoperitoneal shunting
Ventriculoperitoneal shunting is surgery to treat excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the cavities (ventricles) of the brain (hydrocephalus). hydrocephalus