QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

WHAT YOU MIGHT LIKE TO KNOW

Neurosurgical diseases are rare, therefore unfamiliar and often very frightening for those affected. During a personal consultation, we will take sufficient time not only to give comprehensive and reliable advice, but also to answer all your questions. We have compiled some answers to FAQ about our special endoscopic and minimally invasive neurosurgical procedures.

Q: WHAT IS MINIMALLY INVASIVE NEUROSURGERY?

A:Minimal invasiveness is a basic principle of modern neurosurgery. It is about performing the surgery as successfully as possible, in the most gentle and safe way. The term describes a comprehensive treatment strategy whose primary goal is to offer individualised treatment, optimally tailored to each patient, for all neurosurgical diseases.

Q: HOW IS MINIMAL INVASIVENESS POSSIBLE IN NEUROSURGERY?

A:In neurosurgery, minimal invasiveness is achieved primarily by reducing the access-related trauma, in the form of individual and often very small cranial openings. This requires state-of-the-art techniques when planning and performing the surgical procedures. Using optimal radiological diagnostics, tiny details inside the skull can be displayed and operations can be realistically simulated and fine-tuned if necessary.

Q: WHAT IS KEYHOLE NEUROSURGERY?

A:Access to the brain and spine can be considerably reduced to the crucial area. Often, the cranial opening (craniotomy) will be no more than about 1.5 x 2 cm, hence the term “keyhole surgery”. It is about the size, rather than the shape of the craniotomy.

According to the keyhole principle, even through a very small opening (such as the keyhole in a door), more distant and significantly larger objects (such as the wall opposite the door and the objects placed there, such as a cabinet), can be seen completely. Of course, neurosurgery is not just about seeing an object, but also about removing it. This is also possible with such small access holes, but it does require appropriate experience and instruments.

Q: WHAT DOES ENDOSCOPIC NEUROSURGERY MEAN?

A:Endoscopes are special optic lenses used for viewing and illuminating deep lesions during neurosurgical operations. Often, procedures can even be performed using purely endoscopic techniques.

Q: WHEN AND WHY DO YOU USE INTRAOPERATIVE IMAGING?

A:Ultrasound, computer and magnetic resonance imaging and angiography are used for intraoperative imaging. In certain tumour operations, intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is helpful in controlling the extent or completeness of the resection during the operation. Complete tumour removal has been shown to prolong progression-free survival in the case of many brain and skull base tumours and is thus important in the treatment of these diseases.

Q: CAN MINIMALLY INVASIVE TECHNIQUES ALSO BE USED IN MY TREATMENT?

A:In principle, minimally invasive techniques can be used to treat any neurosurgical disease. An overview can be found in the section headed “Disease patterns”.  You can contact us by phone or in person for individual information.

Q: WHO PAYS FOR A MINIMALLY INVASIVE PROCEDURE?

A:In general, the cost of a minimally invasive procedure is no different from the cost of conventional surgery. Hirslanden Zürich is a main hospital and is thus authorised to treat all patients, regardless of their insurance. As a rule, no additional costs are incurred for patients with OKP (obligatory insurance) or VVG (supplementary insurance).

For patients who are not insured in Zurich and who only have compulsory health insurance (OKP) in their canton of residence, there may be small cost differentials payable by the patient, but this will depend on the canton. Our Patient Management team will be happy to provide you with the relevant information before your procedure.

In the case of foreign patients with health insurance, the payment of treatment costs will need to be checked before admission to the Centre. Hirslanden International is at your disposal for this purpose.

For self-paying patients, we are happy to provide a reliable individual cost estimate.

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