What Is The Most Frequent Neurosurgical Technique?

Dr. Philip Henkin

February 23, 2023


There are a few different answers if you are wondering what the most common neurosurgical procedure is. There are anterior cervical discectomy, microvascular decompression, trigeminal neuralgia, and craniotomy.

Anterior cervical discectomy

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is the most common neurosurgical procedure for patients suffering from cervical pain. This surgery involves the removal of the damaged intervertebral discs and the implantation of bone grafts. The surgeon makes an incision in the front of the neck to access the spine.

During the surgery, the neurosurgical keeps track of the spinal cord and central nervous system. He uses special surgical magnifying glasses to view the nerves in the cervical region.

A small incision is made in the front of the neck. The jugular vein is moved toward the side of the neck. Another incision is made in the back of the neck. X-rays are taken during the procedure. These x-rays are used to confirm the positioning of the cages.

After the surgeon completes the incision, a titanium plate is placed to help support the fusion process. Special instruments are also used to remove bone spurs.

In addition, bone removal is conducted to recontour the disc space and eliminate osteophytes. Bone graft is sometimes also placed to fill the disc space.


A craniotomy is a surgical procedure in which a part of the skull is removed. Craniotomies are used to treat various brain disorders and conditions. The surgery can take several hours and involve removing bone or tissue.

Before the operation, patients are examined and given anesthesia. They are also monitored to ensure that their vital signs are normal. After the operation, patients stay in the hospital for a few days.

Sometimes, the patient may be awake for some of the surgery. This is called an awake craniotomy. The neurosurgeon will use special instruments for this type of surgery to view the patient’s brain. These instruments are used to distinguish healthy tissue from abnormal tissue.

The procedure involves a small incision in the skull. An endoscope (a lighted device with a camera) is inserted into the hole. Using a probe, the surgeon can see the brain’s surface while talking to the patient.

If the patient has a tumor, the neurosurgeon will use a special instrument called an ultrasonic aspirator to break up the tumor. When this is done, the tumor will be removed, and the pressure on the brain will be reduced.

Microvascular decompression

Microvascular decompression is a procedure to reduce or eliminate neuropathic pain and other symptoms of cranial nerve dysfunction. Also, Microvascular decompression surgery involves separating blood vessels from the nerve. This is typically done under general anesthesia.

The technique is usually successful. However, there are some risks involved. For example, an adverse reaction may occur, or the patient might experience numbness or drooping of the face or double vision.

Among other complications, patients often experience hearing loss. It is important to take special care in postoperative evaluations. In addition, patients should be aware of the risk of neuropathic pain and the possibility of postoperative numbness. Patients should also avoid strenuous activity and lifting more than 2 pounds.

The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program used a registry to evaluate adverse events. They identified the most common recorded reoperations involving the repair of cerebrospinal fluid leakage.

During the study period, 164 patients younger than 64 underwent microvascular decompression. The average age of the patient group was 58 years.

Trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain disorder that can be debilitating. Attacks may occur sporadically or in rapid succession. A typical trigeminal neuralgia attack lasts from two minutes to a few hours. It may be accompanied by nausea, dizziness, and headache.

The most common neurosurgical treatment for trigeminal neuralgia is microvascular decompression. This surgery involves cutting a small hole in the skull. A piece of the dura is removed, which moves the blood vessel away from the compression area. During the procedure, a local anesthetic is administered to numb the nerve. In addition, electrodes are placed near the trigeminal nerve. These electrodes are connected to an external stimulator, which delivers tiny electrical pulses.

Patients with classic trigeminal neuralgia tend to respond well to the surgery. Other patients have a harder time. Those with atypical pain, such as burning, neuropathic, or atypical facial pain, will not be able to benefit from this type of surgery.

Symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia include sudden intense pain in the face, particularly in the cheek. Often, the pain attacks are triggered by sensory stimuli. For instance, touching the face, talking, or crying can trigger an attack.