Chinese Neurosurgical Journal Outlines the Potential for Network Neurosurgery in the Twenty-First Century

Article reviews the development of neurosurgery and looks toward the future of network neurosurgery, a technique that combines imaging and minimally invasive surgery.

BEIJING, June 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — As the field of neurosurgery nears its centennial, it is spurred on by the introduction of digitized medical imaging, hybrid operating rooms, and advanced brain research.

In the last one hundred years, clinicians have witnessed rapid advances in brain anatomy and cognition, biomedical imaging, and surgical instruments. Neurosurgical techniques, too, have evolved with time. Today, neurosurgery focuses on minimally invasive approaches like network neurosurgery, which use multimodal, functional neurological imaging to guide the surgeon.

Prof. Jizong Zhao from the Department of Neurosurgery, Beijing Tiantan Hospital, Capital Medical University, recently wrote a review outlining the prospects of network neurosurgery. The article was published in Volume 9 of the Chinese Neurosurgical Journal on February 2, 2023. “Structural brain imaging and research on functional networks have laid a strong foundation for network neurosurgery. Today, hybrid neurosurgical operating rooms are equipped with machines that can provide real-time data and map functional neural networks in the brain. These have laid a solid foundation for network neurosurgery,” explains Prof Zhao.

The precise network neurosurgical approach can identify critical hubs in brain networks through. It offers improved safeguarding of hub blood supply through thorough preoperative evaluation of brain function, networks, and vasculature. By predicting optimal revascularization strategies and facilitating brain network connectivity recovery, network neurosurgery holds promise for enhancing revascularization and functional remodeling of neurons and neural circuits.

Neural circuits also generate and regulate consciousness and cognition. Hence, network neurosurgery will improve deep brain stimulation (DBS) research for disorders that affect consciousness, by providing adaptive neuromodulation based on regulatory mechanisms and theories. DBS can treat neurological and psychiatric disorders tied to disrupted neural circuits, and advances in neuromodulation technology will significantly improve its treatment mechanisms.

Network neurosurgery will also provide an alternative communication and control channel between the brain and the external environment. This brain-computer interface is independent of peripheral muscles and nerves and will allow patients with motor dysfunction to manipulate external devices like robotic arms.

Prof Zhao eagerly awaits the next breakthroughs in neurosurgery. He concludes with an air of excitement, “I’m confident the advances in neurosurgery that we are witnessing will bear fruit for the assessment, diagnosis, prognosis, and communication of not only neurological diseases but also movement and psychiatric disorders, chronic pain, and epilepsy.”  

Hopefully, with the development of advanced technologies and approaches, neurosurgery is poised to be at the forefront of translational research in human brain science!


Title of original paper: Network neurosurgery

Journal: Chinese Neurosurgical Journal


About Professor Jizong Zhao
Professor Jizong Zhao is an M.D. and the dean of Capital Medical University School of Neurosurgery, China. His research focuses on cerebral vascular diseases, head trauma, and minimally invasive neurosurgical techniques. Professor Zhao has published over 400 peer-reviewed articles since 1997 and received the College of Surgeons of Honk Kong Honorary Fellowship in 2017 and the Wu Jieping Medical Prize in 2018.

Yi Lu

SOURCE Chinese Neurosurgical Journal