Conditions of the brain may be investigated and treated by either a neurologist, or a neurosurgeon, or both. A neurologist is a medical doctor who will investigate and treat non-surgical conditions. This could range from chronic headaches to Parkinsons and epilepsy. However, there are situations where a brain condition may need treatment from a neurosurgeon. This is a surgeon with expertise in operating on the brain and spinal cord. Neurosurgery may be needed to treat several medical conditions. This includes brain tumours, stroke, bleeding and occasionally to relieve pressure on the brain.
Blackrock Health is renowned for excellent neurological care, particularly at Hermitage Clinic. We have the largest private Neurosurgical Unit in the country, with the greatest number of neurosurgeons across Blackrock Health and indeed more than any other private hospital in Ireland. Our team of experts includes neurologists, neurophysiologists, clinical nurse specialists, radiologists, and radiographers. Working together, we can evaluate your condition and explore your treatment options. We treat a wide range of conditions of the nervous system conditions - from chronic headaches to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and motor neuron disease. We can offer you fast access to critical diagnostic tests to help provide the information needed to plan for your treatment. These include MRI, CT, and PET scans, as well as physical and neuropsychological exams to identify the cause of your symptoms. We are committed to providing expert support to our patients. Dealing with the symptoms or diagnosis of a neurological condition can be very challenging - but we're here to help.
Many of our consultants are linked to the National Neurosurgical Unit in Beaumont Hospital. Our team includes:
- Consultant Neurosurgeons
- Consultant Neuroanaesthetists
- Critical Care Specialists
- Consultant Neuroradiologists
- Neurosurgical Clinical Nurse Specialists
- Neurospecialist Physiotherapists
- A dedicated medical social work service
We offer experienced consultations, advanced scans, and several highly specialised procedures.
Who we treat
Our consultants can help you manage pain and ease neurological disorders. We treat many kinds of neurological injuries and conditions including:
- brain injuries
- aneurysm (weak artery wall)
- brain tumours
- hydrocephalus (build-up of fluid in the brain)
- trigeminal neuralgia (pain in the face affecting the trigeminal nerve)
What to expect
- At your first appointment, you'll meet with your consultant to talk about your issue.
- One of our neuro-radiologists will then carry out any scans that you might need. This may happen on the same day as your consultation.
- Your scan results will assist your consultant in formulating a treatment plan.
- Before any surgery, one of our specialist nurses will carry out pre-admission assessment. This will make sure you're ready for your anaesthetic and procedure.
- After your procedure, our team will care for you at our dedicated neurosurgical inpatient ward. We provide superior accommodation designed for your care. We strive to make your recovery as easy and swift as possible. Our physiotherapists are experts in assessing and treating neurosurgery patients.
Scans and diagnostics
In addition to identifying your symptoms, a physical examination will be always be a first step to check sensation and movement. Then the most appropriate tests and scans can be ordered. Diagnosing if cranial surgery is necessary often needs different imaging methods, like MRI, CT, and PET scans. Tests like blood tests or genetic tests also help give information about a person's medical condition. In addition, neuropsychological tests could be used to identify any brain issues that could have come from an injury or stroke. All these techniques provide further detail to your medical team. This will help them find out the cause of possible neurological issues and come up with a treatment plan.
An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a diagnostic tool that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed images. MRI can help spot abnormalities in brain tissue. This includes injury, stroke, tumours, and other neurological disorders. It can help to diagnose conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or multiple sclerosis. It is also useful to assess if a therapy has been effective in treating a neurological issue.
A CT scan (computed tomography) is an imaging technique used in medicine to create detailed, cross-sectional images of the body. It uses x-rays to take detailed images of different layers inside the human body. It works by rotating around the patient while taking a series of x-ray images at specific points along its path. These are then combined using computer software to create a 3D model of the target area. This makes it useful to diagnose neurological problems, as it can identify issues like tumours, swelling, and blood clots. It may also be used to detect changes in the brain caused by strokes or other conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.
A PET scan is a shortened name for Positron Emission Tomography. This imaging technique is used to visualise brain function - to look for diseases and other medical conditions. It is especially useful for diagnosing neurological issues as it can identify healthy and damaged areas of the brain. The scan can help doctors diagnose a variety of complex conditions that affect the brain. This includes dementia, seizures, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and Huntington’s disease. Doctors may use a PET scan along with other tests such as MRI or CT scans to assess the severity of a condition before determining a course of treatment.
Amyloid PET Scan
Amyloid PET Scan is a new technique, and Blackrock Health at Blackrock Clinic is the first in Ireland to offer this service. This imaging test for deposition of amyloid in the brains which is one of the features of Alzheimer's disease. There are specific criteria identifying those for whom this test is most useful. At present, this test is only available by referral from a Consultant Neurologist.
Our consultants perform complex brain surgeries in our advanced operating room. Our theatres are equipped with the most modern navigation and robotic surgical platforms.
Cranial procedures include:
- VP shunt insertion for the treatment of Hydrocephalus
- craniotomies (temporary removal of bone to repair the brain or remove a tumour)
- craniectomies (to remove a part of the skull to relieve pressure from the brain)
- cranioplasty to repair bone defects in the skull
- microvascular decompression for the treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia
- foramen decompression for the treatment of Chiari Malformation
Rehabilitation and recovery
- After a brain surgery, the rehabilitation a person needs will depend on the type of operation and what their neurological problem was. Often, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists help patients recover from surgery. Physiotherapy is used to build strength and improve movement. Occupational therapy can help people do tasks that are difficult due to their condition. Speech-language therapy can help for language, speech, or swallowing issues. Finally, cognitive retraining may be needed if any processes like memory were affected by surgery. Counselling services can also provide support to manage stress and mental health issues. This kind of response to the trauma of major surgery is not unexpected and can be helped.
How do I get this?
You will need a referral letter from your GP or consultant before you make an appointment. Please see our Request Appointment Form here.
Is this insured?
Not all services are covered by health insurance. To find out if you're covered, please check your health insurance before your visit. You can do this on our health insurance Cover Check page here, or by contacting your health insurer.
How do I pay?
If you do not have health insurance or your health plan does not cover the full cost, you will need to pay the balance due before your treatment or procedure. You may be able to claim back some fees on your insurance. To pay an excess not covered by your insurance or any other inpatient fees, please visit our payment page here. If you have any queries about paying for your care, please contact the finance team in your hospital.