Conditions affecting the central nervous system (CNS) that may require intervention may be classified as follows:
- Congenital disorders (hydrocephalus, microcephaly, encephaloceles, etc.)
- Degenerative disorders
- Vascular disorders
- Infections (e.g., brain abscesses)
(See neurosurgical textbooks for greater detail.)
The features may be generalized or localized. A detailed history and careful examination are necessary to an accurate diagnosis.
- Generalized features
- Alterations in level of consciousness.
- Localized features
- Paralysis and/or sensory defect of a part of the body
- blurred vision or loss of vision
- Full haemogram (severe anaemia should arouse suspicion of metastatic disease and polycythaemia of cerebellar haemangio blastemas)
- Plain radiography (will for example show metastatic disease of the skull, expansion of sutures in children, eroded clinoid processes, vascular markings and hyperostosis in meningiomas, etc.)
- Contrast radiology (ventriculography, angiography, etc.)
- Computerized axial tomography (CT scan) is the main diagnostic tool today for intracranial lesions