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What is microsurgery?

Microsurgery describes an array of procedures for which surgeons use a high-powered operating microscope and specialized instruments to operate on small or delicate structures in the brain. For information about microsurgery performed for conditions of the spine, click here.

Historically, brain surgery required large skin incisions and bone openings to let the neurosurgeon view the brain and locate the relevant lesion. Some conditions simply could not be treated because the neurosurgeon could not adequately see all the delicate structures within the skull.

The solution came in the form of high-powered operating microscopes, which produce bright light and greatly magnify the surgical area—including thin nerves and tiny blood vessels. Most operating microscopes also display a high-resolution image on a monitor visible to the surgical team.

Microsurgical techniques enable our neurosurgeons to navigate with tremendous precision around the finest nerve endings and blood vessels to repair or remove a brain abnormality. Surgeons can also use the operating microscope during an operation to examine the brain for residual tumor, an incomplete blood vessel repair or another circumstance that requires attention.

Microsurgery has ultimately allowed neurosurgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures, which offer patients smaller incisions, fewer complications and faster recoveries.

When is this procedure performed?

Microsurgery is incorporated into most modern neurosurgical procedures, such as:

At Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Robert Solomon, Dr. Richard Anderson (Pediatric), Dr. Jeffrey Bruce, Dr. E. Sander Connolly Jr., Dr. Neil Feldstein (Pediatric), Dr. Grace Mandigo, Dr. Guy McKhann, Dr. Sameer Sheth, Dr. Michael Sisti, Dr. Marc Otten and Dr. Christopher Winfree are experts in microsurgery.

patient journey

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