Minimally invasive neurosurgery

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Background: The philosophy and practice of minimally invasive surgery have fundamentally altered the practice of general and gynaecological surgery, and are currently transforming the practice of neurosurgery. The goal of minimally invasive surgery is to reduce tissue disruption and thus morbidity. This is a review of the development, applications, and benefits of minimally invasive neurosurgery, and its wider surgical implications. Methods: A synthesis of the literature is presented. Results: Interactive computer imaging with frame-based and frameless stereotaxy, ultrasonographic and endoscopic techniques are increasingly being used independently and in combination in order to execute minimally invasive approaches and to navigate a safe path within the cranium or spine. Interaction using an interlinking stereotactic instrument or robot between the surgeon, a graphic interface (such as a computer workstation) and the patient, enables precise planning and execution of surgery with exact correspondence of imaging data and the living pathology. The direct influence of virtual reality, cybernetics, robotics, and tele-presence will further revolutionize the practice of neurosurgery and will impact increasingly on other surgical disciplines. Safety and precision are further enhanced by intra-operative physiological monitoring techniques. Interventional neuroradiology and stereotactic radiosurgery add further dimensions to the minimally invasive approach and may not only diminish the need for open surgery, but in selected cases obviate the need altogether. Conclusions: Minimally invasive neurosurgery is a major force in contemporary neurosurgery and many of the current neuro surgical applications will have far-reaching effects on the practice of surgery in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-559
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • computers
  • endoscopy
  • interventional neuroradiology
  • minimally invasive surgery
  • radiosurgery
  • robotics
  • stereotaxis
  • technology

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