Neurosurgery, Inc.
  Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What kind of education and training does a neurosurgeon have?
A: A neurosurgeon has undergone many years of education and training. First, one must obtain a bachelor's degree which usually requires four year of college. Next comes four years of medical school. Then comes an internship in general surgery, which usually lasts one year. This is followed by a number of years of residency, which is essentially an apprenticeship in which the training neurosurgeon works with and scrubs beside an experienced surgeon, learning the skills of the trade. This specialized apprenticeship generally takes from five to seven years. After this is completed, the surgeon may open up a practice, or may choose to continue training in a subspecialty of neurosurgery, during what is known as a fellowship. This may take an additional one or more years. After this, the surgeon will typically begin the practice of neurosurgery.
Q: My neurosurgeon scheduled my operation for the afternoon. Will he/she be too tired to do my surgery?
A: The training in neurosurgery is very rigorous. In addition to the numerous years of training which are required, the hours worked during residency are often great, and the level of intensity of decision making is high. Those that successfully finish the training are a dedicated group of highly trained individuals who have tremendous amounts of stamina. For many surgeons, they are just getting warmed up for surgery by the time afternoon rolls around. In addition, surgeons know their limits, and would rather cancel a case than perform one when they are not in top condition.
Q: I have had an MRI scan, but my surgeon wants another. Why?
A: Just as you need a roadmap to plot your course when driving to a different city, a neurosurgeon needs an accurate picture of the anatomy of your body in order to see what must be done at surgery. Sometimes MRI scans are of poor quality. This can occur for a number of different reasons. You may have moved during the scan, your size may have been too great for the strength of the MRI magnet, you may have metal implanted in your body in the region of the scan, or the MRI machine may have been of a poor quality. What ever the reason, your surgeon has decided that in order for him/her to do the best job possible, another more detailed scan must be obtained.
Q: My MRI report says that I have two bulging discs in the lumbar spine, but my surgeon does not want to operate. Why?
A: The decision to operate is based on your history, physical exam, x rays, MRI scans, and lab tests. Your neurosurgeon will assimilate all the factual information, process it based on his/her experience, and formulate an opinion as to whether surgery may help you at that point. Many patients have bulging discs, even those without any pain, so the decision as to how to treat must be based upon more than an imaginig study alone.
Q: Should I get a second opinion?
A: An occasional insurance company requires a second opinion when it comes to surgery, but most don't. If your surgeon has any level of discomfort regarding your case, he/she will request a second opinion. And if you would like to get other opinions, your surgeon will be unlikely to have any objections. But it is best to be upfront and honest, and let your surgeon know you are obtaining another opinion
Q: I already had a CT scan of my back. Why do I need an MRI scan?
A: An MRI scan is excellent at showing soft tissue such as spinal cord, nerve roots and herniated discs. A CT scan shows bone detail and some soft tissue. When looking for herniated discs or tumors, an MRI image will usually reveal much more detail.
Q: What is the difference between a neurosurgeon and a neurologist?
A: A neurosurgeon treats patients who may potentially benefit by surgery. This would include patients with disc disease and narrowing of the cervical, lumbar and thoracic spines, tumors of the brain and spine, aneurysms in the brain, head and spine injuries, peripheral nerve problems such as carpal tunnel and ulnar nerve injuries, and surgically treatable forms of epilepsy and Parkinson's disease. On the other hand, a neurologist is involved with stroke, seizuere disorders, metabolic disorders, and other non-surgical disturbances of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves.




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