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Research Focus: Functional and Stereotactic Neurosurgery

Functional Neurosurgery is didicated to treatment of pharmacological resistant movement disorders, epilepsy, severe psychiatric disorders, therapy resistant pain syndroms beside of distinct methods in neurooncology. The aim of that surgical discipline is to restore disturbed neuronal functionality by surgical methods such as stereotactic surgery, radiosurgery, neuromodulation, functional imaging, intraoperative electrophysiology and many more. Functional neurosurgery uses and develops many instruments and methods to gain that goals. Compared to other nonsurgical disciplines neurosurgery has the advantage of acute and immediate medical observations and results which are able to give hints or ideas concerning the neuronal functionality and functional distribution in humans. Without the comparative findings between neurosurgery and imaging modalities like functional imaging, it would have been impossible to gain the exhaustive amount of knowledge till now. Functional Neurosurgery was and is able to give fundamental information on clinical and basic neuroscience research. It attracted the interest of the world medical community, while trying to identify cerebral functions by intraoperative examinations, for example, in awake surgeries. Most recently attempts have been made by comparison of intraoperative findings and functional neuroimaging to bridge the gap between human brain physiology and cognitive and emotional control of behavior, decision making, communication, and metaphysical experiences. This interdisciplinary discourse between the neurosciences is still in its beginning.

The Innsbruck working group of functional and stereotactic neurosurgery exists since 1999 and had gained national international reputation and that fact is well documented by more than 50 peer reviewed articles including New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Brain beside of the top ranked journals in neurosurgery and functional neurosurgery. More than 30 book chapters and more than 360 national and international presentations, invited and in combination with congress chairs were gained since the establishment of the speciality in Innsbruck becoming the leading institution in austria. Interdisciplinary cooperations exists national local with the department of neurology, radiooncology, neuroradiology, rehabilitation medicine, psychiatry, anaesthesia – pain department, national with austrian pain society (board member, president elect 2021 – 2023) international: international neuromodulation society, german society for neuromodulation (vice president 2014 until 2019), World Society and European Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, international teacher and trainer for deep brain stimulation.