Neurosurgery at the London Clinic

The London Clinic Neurosciences Centre is an international specialist centre for neurosurgery. Many of the consultant neurosurgeons who practice here are clinical leaders in their field. Most combine private practice with senior NHS posts and are active in clinical trials and clinical research.

Neurosurgery is one of the most complex and intricate forms of surgery. Nerve tissue, once damaged, has very limited ability to repair itself. Neurosurgery, whether performed on the brain, spinal cord, or to treat conditions that affect the peripheral nerves, requires dedicated skill and ingenuity.

What is neurosurgery?

Neurosurgery is a medical discipline that is closely associated with neurology. Like neurologists, neurosurgeons treat patients with an injury or disease that impacts on their central nervous system or on their peripheral nerves.

Neurologists and neurosurgeons work closely together in multi-disciplinary teams; the overall management and treatment plan for patients is overseen by the neurologist and the neurosurgeon provides surgical expertise when that is a necessary part of the therapy.

Another key member of the multi-disciplinary team is the neuroradiologist, who uses radioactive imaging methods and radiotherapy to diagnose and treat neurological problems. CT scans, PET scans, brain angiographies and MRI scans are used routinely as diagnostic tools and to monitor how patients are improving with treatment.

Some of our neurosurgeons specialise in spinal surgery and perform operations to treat tumours and degenerative conditions that affect the vertebrae in the backbone, the spinal cord, and the fluid and membranes that surround it.

Specialist techniques used by our neurosurgeons include:

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery: non-invasive ‘surgery’ with the CyberKnife® is available on one of the lower levels of The Duchess of Devonshire Wing.
  • Endoscopic techniques: these are used in many conditions, including pituitary tumour removal and for treating hydrocephalus.
  • Microsurgery: the use of microscopy to enhance the view of the surgeon.
  • Neuronavigation: this involves using and even combining images from CT scans, PET scans and MRI scans and feeding them into a computer guidance system for use during neurosurgery.

Our main neurosurgery services include:

  • Neuroanaesthesia: Providing the correct balance of anaesthesia, sedation and pain relief during neurosurgery is often a complex task, particularly in neurosurgery in which the patient needs to be responsive to obtain information on brain function. Our neuroanaesthetists provide anaesthesia for all neurosurgical procedures, including those required for head injuries, chronic neurological diseases and acute problems such as stroke and aneurysms.
  • Brain surgery and neurosurgery: For primary malignant brain tumours, metastatic brain tumours and benign skull tumours.
  • Treatment for acoustic neuroma: Our approach to the management of this benign tumour that develops on the acoustic nerve in the brain.
  • Blood vessel surgery in the brain: For vascular problems that affect the brain, including brain aneurysm, haemorrhagic stroke, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), cavernomas and subarachnoid haemorrhages.
  • Brain surgery for hydrocephalus: This includes management of Chiari malformations.
  • Neurosurgery to relieve peripheral nerve compression: Including treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar nerve compression and peroneal neuropathy.

Neurosurgical procedures tailored to each patient

Each neurosurgical procedure is individually tailored to each patient. Neurosurgery may form part of the treatment for patients who have:

  • Primary brain tumours that are cancerous.
  • Secondary brain tumours that develop from cancer in another part of the body.
  • Benign tumours that develop within the skull, such as acoustic neuroma.
  • Acute vascular problems such as haemorrhagic stroke, subarachnoid haemorrhage, arteriovenous malformation (AVM), a ruptured aneurysm or a cavernoma.
  • Hydrocephalus, which can be either due to a congenital abnormality or that develops due to disease or injury later in life.
  • Chiari malformations.
  • Peripheral nerve problems that affect the arm and leg, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.