Eli5: How do brain surgeons differentiate one part of the brain from the other when they all look the same?

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How do they look at a brain and know that if they cut this tiny section they could cut off fine motor control, and this section is responsible for memories, etc. It all looks the same!

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9 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

There’s a map. The brain doesn’t really look all the same. There’s quite a bit of organization. Most people don’t have the experience or training to distinguish many differences in brain structure, but brain surgeons can. Here’s a link for you: https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/en/science/bioscience/accurate-map-brain/

Anonymous 0 Comments

There’s a map. The brain doesn’t really look all the same. There’s quite a bit of organization. Most people don’t have the experience or training to distinguish many differences in brain structure, but brain surgeons can. Here’s a link for you: https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/en/science/bioscience/accurate-map-brain/

Anonymous 0 Comments

There’s a map. The brain doesn’t really look all the same. There’s quite a bit of organization. Most people don’t have the experience or training to distinguish many differences in brain structure, but brain surgeons can. Here’s a link for you: https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/en/science/bioscience/accurate-map-brain/

Anonymous 0 Comments

It doesn’t all look the same. There are certain anatomical “landmarks” you see in every brain. You know those folds and grooves? They aren’t random. They follow a predictable pattern that you see in every human, even if there are some differences on a detailed level. For instance, every human has a groove about midway through their brain, between the front and back halves. This groove is called the *central* *sulcus*, and it is the border between the *frontal* and *parietal lobes*. Right in front of the central sulcus is a fold that always contains the *primary motor cortex* – the brain area that sends commands to your muscles and allows you to make voluntary movements. In the back of the brain, in the occipital lobe and parts of the temporal and parietal lobes, you’ll find the visual cortex. And so forth.

In other words, we have a coarse “map” of the brain that allows us to find our way and tell different parts apart. It’s not perfect though, and there is variability between people. This is why, if there is some crucial brain function that needs to be preserved, they sometimes wake the patient up in the middle of brain surgery, to kind of “poke around” a little in different places and see whether it causes any problems. For instance, for a musician it would be devastating to lose their ability to play their instrument. So they might get them to play their instrument while the surgeon disturbs different parts of the brain near where she wants to cut away tissue (e.g. to remove a tumor). If any point the patient can’t play while a certain location is being “poked”, the surgeon knows not to remove that part.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It doesn’t all look the same. There are certain anatomical “landmarks” you see in every brain. You know those folds and grooves? They aren’t random. They follow a predictable pattern that you see in every human, even if there are some differences on a detailed level. For instance, every human has a groove about midway through their brain, between the front and back halves. This groove is called the *central* *sulcus*, and it is the border between the *frontal* and *parietal lobes*. Right in front of the central sulcus is a fold that always contains the *primary motor cortex* – the brain area that sends commands to your muscles and allows you to make voluntary movements. In the back of the brain, in the occipital lobe and parts of the temporal and parietal lobes, you’ll find the visual cortex. And so forth.

In other words, we have a coarse “map” of the brain that allows us to find our way and tell different parts apart. It’s not perfect though, and there is variability between people. This is why, if there is some crucial brain function that needs to be preserved, they sometimes wake the patient up in the middle of brain surgery, to kind of “poke around” a little in different places and see whether it causes any problems. For instance, for a musician it would be devastating to lose their ability to play their instrument. So they might get them to play their instrument while the surgeon disturbs different parts of the brain near where she wants to cut away tissue (e.g. to remove a tumor). If any point the patient can’t play while a certain location is being “poked”, the surgeon knows not to remove that part.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It doesn’t all look the same. There are certain anatomical “landmarks” you see in every brain. You know those folds and grooves? They aren’t random. They follow a predictable pattern that you see in every human, even if there are some differences on a detailed level. For instance, every human has a groove about midway through their brain, between the front and back halves. This groove is called the *central* *sulcus*, and it is the border between the *frontal* and *parietal lobes*. Right in front of the central sulcus is a fold that always contains the *primary motor cortex* – the brain area that sends commands to your muscles and allows you to make voluntary movements. In the back of the brain, in the occipital lobe and parts of the temporal and parietal lobes, you’ll find the visual cortex. And so forth.

In other words, we have a coarse “map” of the brain that allows us to find our way and tell different parts apart. It’s not perfect though, and there is variability between people. This is why, if there is some crucial brain function that needs to be preserved, they sometimes wake the patient up in the middle of brain surgery, to kind of “poke around” a little in different places and see whether it causes any problems. For instance, for a musician it would be devastating to lose their ability to play their instrument. So they might get them to play their instrument while the surgeon disturbs different parts of the brain near where she wants to cut away tissue (e.g. to remove a tumor). If any point the patient can’t play while a certain location is being “poked”, the surgeon knows not to remove that part.

Anonymous 0 Comments

What we call “brain surgery” is the medical field of “neurosurgery”. It’s one of the most difficult and rewarding medical specialty.

It deals with the the **Nervous System**, the spinal cord and of course the brain. To become a Neurosurgeon, first you need to do a “normal” medical school,
then practice for a couple of years, and then training for another 8 YEARS (in UK ) .

Many advances in this field come from direct experience in recording brain injuries, noting how precise part of the brain control certain body organs or muscle movement.

So, it’s this collected medical history of evidence, years of hard hard study and exceptional skills that let a neurosurgeon decide what he can and cannot cut or stimulate.

It should be noted the “everything looks the same” is true for most surgeries. Once you cat the first layer of skin/fat, everything is red. 😉

Anonymous 0 Comments

What we call “brain surgery” is the medical field of “neurosurgery”. It’s one of the most difficult and rewarding medical specialty.

It deals with the the **Nervous System**, the spinal cord and of course the brain. To become a Neurosurgeon, first you need to do a “normal” medical school,
then practice for a couple of years, and then training for another 8 YEARS (in UK ) .

Many advances in this field come from direct experience in recording brain injuries, noting how precise part of the brain control certain body organs or muscle movement.

So, it’s this collected medical history of evidence, years of hard hard study and exceptional skills that let a neurosurgeon decide what he can and cannot cut or stimulate.

It should be noted the “everything looks the same” is true for most surgeries. Once you cat the first layer of skin/fat, everything is red. 😉

Anonymous 0 Comments

What we call “brain surgery” is the medical field of “neurosurgery”. It’s one of the most difficult and rewarding medical specialty.

It deals with the the **Nervous System**, the spinal cord and of course the brain. To become a Neurosurgeon, first you need to do a “normal” medical school,
then practice for a couple of years, and then training for another 8 YEARS (in UK ) .

Many advances in this field come from direct experience in recording brain injuries, noting how precise part of the brain control certain body organs or muscle movement.

So, it’s this collected medical history of evidence, years of hard hard study and exceptional skills that let a neurosurgeon decide what he can and cannot cut or stimulate.

It should be noted the “everything looks the same” is true for most surgeries. Once you cat the first layer of skin/fat, everything is red. 😉