The brain is a monstrous, beautiful mess. Its billions of nerve cells - called neurons - lie in a tangled web that displays cognitive powers far exceeding any of the silicon machines we have built to mimic it.
- William F. Allman
The brain is one of the most principal organ in the living body. Also called as ‘the computer’ and ‘the decision maker’, this organ is very complex and not easy to understand. The brain is responsible for all the actions taking place inside our body. Human brains have been able to achieve things which are beyond imagination. But, as computers are prone to viruses, same case is with our brains. What are the risks that may supplement the deterioration of ‘the computer’ of our body? What dangers can affect this intricate part of our body?
Popularized by the late 70s and early 80s Bollywood movies, Brain Tumor is one of the leading complications faced by the brain. As shown in these movies, brain tumors are incurable and deathly, leading to the deaths of heroes and heroines. This was true a few decades back. But now, with the advancement in science, we see a totally different picture. Brain Tumors are curable. This is mainly done with the help of a surgery called craniotomy, in which the skull is opened and the tumors are removed. But this process can offer certain complications. Since the patient is unconscious during the whole process, there is a high risk of the patient being paralyzed after the surgery. To avoid any such situations, a new type of craniotomy is performed, which is almost similar to the conventional craniotomy. It is called Awake Craniotomy, where the patient is conscious, so that the doctor is able to know whether he/she is able to move his/her limbs. The patient is thus far away from any risk of paralysis.
The lesser known brother of brain tumor has not been taken up by Bollywood movies yet. Known as Brain Aneurysm, this is a condition in which a bulge occurs in a blood vessel in the brain. A brain aneurysm can leak or rupture, causing bleeding into the brain. If not taken earlier measures, these conditions can lead to a fatal death. There are mainly two types of brain aneurysms - unruptured and ruptured. Ruptured brain aneurysms are the one which are the most dangerous. Most often a ruptured brain aneurysm occurs in the space between the brain and the thin tissues covering the brain. This can lead to hemorrhagic stroke, which often results to a brain hemorrhage. These type of strokes are considered to be a medical emergency and can lead to death or other severe disabilities, like paralysis and coma.
Brain Aneurysms are deadly if not taken early precautions. There are mainly two types of procedures through which this condition can be treated. Open surgical clipping is a procedure to close off an aneurysm. In this, the neurosurgeon removes a section of the skull to access the aneurysm and locates the blood vessel that feeds the aneurysm. Then he or she places a tiny metal clip on the neck of the aneurysm to stop blood flow to it. But this procedure has many shortcomings. There are many complications related to this. The patient is disabled and is not allowed any activities for a long time. Pain persists in the skull where the surgery is done. The ICU stay is longer and is more difficult. The main problem is the maximum loss of blood during this procedure.
Brain aneurysm is a problem of an artery inside the brain. So rather than targeting the whole brain, the problematic artery should be remedified. Herein comes the process of Coiling. It is generally considered to be the most convenient and the most effective treatment for brain aneurysm. In this, a catheter is inserted inside the body through the femoral artery (groin). This catheter is led to the brain, where the bulge is located. While viewing an x-ray monitor, called a fluoroscope, the doctor steers the catheter through the blood vessels. A special dye injected into the bloodstream makes the blood vessels visible on the monitor. Once the catheter reaches the desired location, the coil is inserted. The wire coils up as it enters the aneurysm and is then detached. Multiple coils are packed inside the dome to block normal blood flow from entering. Over time, a clot forms inside the aneurysm, effectively removing the risk of aneurysm rupture. Coils remain inside the aneurysm permanently. Coils are made of platinum and other materials, and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and coatings that promote clotting. This process is the most convenient one, as it is easily feasible. The loss of blood is lesser and the patient is discharged in almost a week. Because of these features, this process has been preferred by countries like Japan and the US.
Where these processes are mainly used in developed countries, Zydus Hospitals, a leading hospital in Gujarat, has brought forward these technologies to the common people of India. Apart from these, the hospital provides a technique called the 3D brain angiography technique, which is unique to the state. It would have been difficult before; a mistake to even think of availing these medical procedures. But now, with this prestigious hospital in view, these far-sighted advancements are easily accessible to us. Just walk in through the smiling door, and you will be taken care of.