What is neurosurgery?
Neurological surgery is the medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of patients with injury to or diseases of, the brain, spine or peripheral nerves. A neurological surgeon (neurosurgeon) may provide either surgical or non-surgical care depending on the nature of the injury or illness.
What kinds of illnesses do neurological surgeons treat?
Neurosurgeons are more than just brain surgeons. These medical specialists are trained to help patients with head and spine trauma; cerebrovascular disorders, such as aneurysms of the brain and clogged arteries in the neck that can lead to strokes; chronic low back pain; birth defects; brain and spinal tumors; and abnormalities of the peripheral (face, arms, legs, hands and feet) nerves.
How are neurosurgeons trained?
After four years of medical school and an internship program, the doctor enters a neurosurgical residency program of five to seven years. While in the program, neurosurgical residents are trained in all aspects of neurosurgery, including cerebrovascular, pediatrics, spine, trauma and tumor. The resident program is long and difficult, due to the extreme complexity of the nervous system and the advanced techniques used in neurosurgical operations. Some neurosurgeons opt to do an additional fellowship in a particular area of study following their residency. Following residency training and several years in practice, the neurological surgeon may take the American Board of Neurological Surgery examination – a thorough assessment of the neurosurgeon’s skill, judgment and depth of knowledge. The successful completion of this examination will result in board certification. While the neurological surgeon has a comprehensive knowledge after medical school and residency training, there are continual changes in this specialty that require ongoing study throughout the neurological surgeon’s professional career. Monthly scientific journals, annual meetings, specialized symposia and other educational opportunities help the neurosurgeon keep pace with rapid changes and developments in neurosurgery.
What is the role of a neurosurgeon?
Neurosurgeons provide the operative and non-operative management (i.e.: prevention, diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, critical care and rehabilitation) or neurological disorders. Because neurosurgeons have extensive training in the diagnosis of all neurological diseases, they are often called upon by emergency room doctors, neurologists, internists, family practitioners and osteopaths for consultations.