Paediatric Neurosurgery

Paediatric neurosurgery is a specialised branch of medical care that focuses on treating neurological conditions in children, from newborns to adolescents. Neurosurgeons who specialise in paediatric cases have extensive training and experience in dealing with the unique challenges of diagnosing and treating neurological issues in young patients.

Common Conditions

Paediatric neurosurgery addresses a wide range of neurological conditions in children, including:

  • Congenital Brain and Spine Malformations: 
    Abnormalities in the structure or development of the brain present at birth, such as hydrocephalus or spina bifida.
  • Brain Tumours
    Abnormal growths of cells in the brain, which can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
  • Epilepsy: 
    A neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures, which can be effectively managed with surgery in some cases.
  • Hydrocephalus: 
    A condition in which there is an excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, leading to increased pressure.
  • Craniosynostosis: 
    Premature fusion of the bones in an infant’s skull, can cause abnormal head shape and pressure on the brain.
  • Chiari Malformation: 
    A condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal, leading to neurological symptoms.
  • Spinal Cord Tumours: 
    Abnormal growths in the spinal cord or surrounding structures.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries: 
    Injuries to the brain are caused by accidents or falls.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Paediatric neurosurgery involves a careful evaluation of a child’s medical history, physical examination, and often, imaging studies like MRI or CT scans to diagnose neurological conditions accurately.

Treatment approaches vary depending on the specific condition and the child’s age and overall health. Some common treatment options include:

  • Surgery:
    Neurosurgical procedures to remove brain tumours, correct congenital malformations, or relieve pressure in the brain due to conditions like hydrocephalus.
  • Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) Shunts:
    A surgical procedure to place a shunt, a flexible tube, to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid from the brain to another part of the body.
  • Endoscopic Procedures:
    Minimally invasive techniques used to treat certain brain and spinal conditions.
  • Epilepsy Surgery:
    Surgical procedures to remove the area of the brain causing seizures, in cases where medications fail to control epilepsy.
  • Physical and Occupational Therapy:
    Rehabilitation therapies to help children recover and improve their motor skills and functionality after neurosurgical procedures.

Paediatric neurosurgeons work closely with a team of paediatricians, paediatric neurologists, and other specialists to provide comprehensive care for children with neurological conditions. The goal of paediatric neurosurgery is to improve a child’s quality of life and promote healthy neurological development as they grow.

Parents and caregivers should seek medical attention if a child shows any neurological symptoms or has been diagnosed with a neurological condition to ensure timely evaluation and appropriate treatment by paediatric neurosurgical experts.