An overview of Neurosurgical research, by Nik Patel

  • Surgical treatment of intractable chronic pain (phantom limb pain, brachial and lumbar plexus avulsion syndromes, anaesthesia dolorosa, cluster headache and central post-stroke pain syndromes)
  • Surgery for treatment-resistant depression and other psychiatric disease
  • Surgical treatments for chronic intractable hypertension
  • Occipital nerve stimulation for the treatment of intractable and cluster headache
  • Long-term outcome of Cervical Arthroplasty vs. Fusion for Spondylotic Disease
  • Growth factor delivery for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease


Nik Patel’s research & publications began during his neurosurgical training programme. Nik pursued a research and fellowship in functional neurosurgery, funded by the MRC (Medical Research Council). His MD Thesis relates to pioneering studies delivering growth factor therapy directly into the brains of patients with Parkinson’s disease.


In 2003, he received the Philip C. Gildenberg Resident Award for Stereotactic and Functional Surgery from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and also won the prestigious EANS (European Association of Neurosurgical Societies) Annual Prize for young researchers. In 2005, further in recognition of his research, he was awarded a Hunterian Professorship in Neurosurgery from the Royal College of Surgeons of England.


As part of the Bristol Functional Neurosurgery Team, he has been involved in developing advanced methods of implanting deep brain stimulating electrodes. He is using these techniques in pioneering advances in deep brain stimulation therapy for chronic pain, epilepsy, hypertension and treatment-resistant psychiatric disease.