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Print version ISSN 1130-1473


ROBAINA PADRON, F.J.. Surgical neuromodulation: new frontiers in neurosurgery. Neurocirugía [online]. 2008, vol.19, n.2, pp.143-155. ISSN 1130-1473.

Objectives. Surgical neuromodulation refers to all those techniques that use implantable devices that discharge electricity or chemical substances that modify nerve signal transmission in order to achieve inhibition, excitation or modulation of the activity of neuronal groups and networks, and to achieve a therapeutic effect. Neuromodulation encompasses different scientific aspects and technologies which need to be defined. Material and method. From the surgical point of view, neuromodulation is defmed as: those intervention techniques that alter the transmission of neuronal signals using implantable electrical or chemical devices with the objective of stimulating, inhibiting or modulating the activity of neurones or neuronal networks to achieve therapeutic effects. A clinical definition makes reference to the use of reversible electrical or chemical stimulation of the nervous system to manipulate its activity in order to treat some specific types of chronic pain and conditions such as spasticity, epilepsy, cardiac ischemia, alterations in the motility of the intestine and of the bladder, lesions of the nervous system, and alterations in mobility, visual, auditory or psychiatric status. Neurosurgeons have been well trained to perform a great number of surgical techniques of neuromodulation, even including helping to significantly increase biomedical activities and the application of high technology to the central and peripheral nervous system. Conclusions. Surgical neuromodulation encourages the neurosurgeon to go also away from the classical techniques of surgical resection and neuroablative procedures, and to enter into the new field of neuroengineering to re-establish lost neurological functions. The inter-relationship between the brain and the computer (brain-machine interface) has already occurred and has been applied in the field of neuroprosthetics and deep brain stimulation. For neurosurgery in general and for Spain in particular, this represents a new opportunity to embark on a high technology path that would involve years of research but, applying these new, non-invasive surgical techniques would help resolve the neurological problems of many of our patients.

Keywords : Surgical neuromodulation; Deep brain stimulation; Spinal cord stimulation; Peripheral nerve stimulation; Brain-computer interface.

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