New development of functional neurorehabilitation in neurosurgery

  • Klaus R. H. von Wild
Conference paper
Part of the Acta Neurochirurgica Supplements book series (NEUROCHIRURGICA, volume 87)



Today, increasingly more patients with severe brain and spinal cord lesions mainly secondary to accidents, violence, stroke, and tumours survive their injuries, in many cases, however, suffering from severe functional impairments of functioning as described by the WHO-ICF criteria. New developments of functional neurorehabilitation in neurosurgery could significantly improve the patients’ quality of life (QoL) in terms of brain and body functioning and certain health-related components of well-being (such as social activities and leisure).


Functional rehabilitation is an original task of neurosurgery from the very outset. Advances in biotechnology regarding both basic research and clinical application have opened up a new and very promising field to restore or compensate impaired or definitively lost organic functions in addition to the conservative rehabilitation methods.


Along with the scientific progress in biotechnology and functional MRI and PET, neurosurgeons have become increasingly interested and actively involved in rehabilitation science and neurosurgical re-engineering of the damaged brain and spinal cord. Some of them have developed new specially designed institutions for early (acute) and subacute neurorehabilitation. Attached to the acute services, neurosurgeons thus become responsible for neurorehabilitation and at the same time for the management of all kinds of complications, which significantly improves the early and late functional outcome. At the same time microelectronics, biotechnology, and genetic engineering are being introduced into the field of neurosurgical rehabilitation in a step-by-step manner.


Progress in the fields of microelectronics, computer technology, and genetic engineering along with rehabilitation science is opening up a new field of unknown chances to partially restore lost body functions and to help improve the quality of life of disabled patients in the sense of ICF. Functional neurosurgery plays a major role in neurosurgical rehabilitation, e.g. functional electrostimulation, brain-stem implants, pain and epilepsy control, restoration of locomotion and grasp faculties, and the use of potent substances such as botulinum toxin (Btx). This demands the capacity of time work and the realization of the necessity to draw up a detailed plan for the restoration of impaired functions prior to enacting a neurosurgical intervention in the sense of a complex neurorehabilitation, and consequently to assume the responsibility for the patient’s outcome. From the beginning of neurological surgery, the preservation and restoration of impaired brain and spinal-cord functions as an original task for neurosurgeons demand their involvement with issues of functional neurorehabilitation including neurosurgical re-engineering of the damaged brain and spinal cord. In this connection the close and trusting cooperation with the clinical neuropsychologist from the very outset is an indispensible factor.


Neurorehabilitation neurosurgical re-engineering TBI SCI functional neurosurgery international classification of functioning (WHO-ICF) 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurosurgical Clinic with Department for Early Rehabilitation of the ClemenshospitalMedical Faculty of the Westphalische Wilhelms UniversityMünsterGermany

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