What is neurosurgery?

Neurosurgery is a specialty which deals with the treatment of diseases of the nervous system.  A neurosurgeon has completed four years of college, four years of medical school, and then completes a residency in neurosurgery lasting six to seven years.  Some  neurosurgeons then choose to undergo additional training in a subspecialty of the field, gaining additional experience in such areas as spine surgery, vascular and skull base neurosurgery, epilepsy surgery, stereotactic surgery, surgery for pain, pediatric neurosurgery and Gamma Knife. 

Neurosurgeons treat lesions in the following areas

  • brain (aneurysns, hemorrhages, tumors (benign and malignant))
  • spine (disks, trauma, tumors)
  • cervical
  • thoracic
  • lumbar
  • peripheral nerves (compressions, lacerations)
  • carpal tunnel
  • ulnar nerves
  • brachial plexus
  • lumbosacral plexus

The majority of neurosurgical procedures are performed under the microscope.  Procedures can last less than an hour, or can last an entire day.  Most neurosurgeons have developed the stamina to endure extremely long procedures because residency training is very rigorous. 

Neurosurgeons tend to be extremely meticulous, conscientious, and passionate about their work.  Many seek certification by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons, which is a governing body composed of prominent neurosurgeons around the country, and oversees and assures that the quality and integrity of neurosurgical care is maintained. 

If you have any further questions about the specialty, ask your neurosurgeon.  Most likely he/she will be happy to fill in more details



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