Neurosurgeons operate in a very specialized field of medicine. Unlike an orthopedic surgeon, who performs surgery on the spine to repair the bones, the neurosurgeon performs surgery on the nervous system, operating on the spinal cord and brain.
The area of expertise of a neurosurgeon is far beyond spinal injuries, however. Neurosurgeons operate on patients who have diseases of the brain or nervous system and examine patients for neurological disorders. Some may choose to specialize within their field, performing procedures such as the clipping of cerebral aneurisms. In general, however, the majority of their procedures involve the removal of brain tumors and managing spinal conditions.
The educational path of a neurosurgeon is a lengthy one. After completing medical school and the internship that follows, the new doctor must be admitted to the neurosurgical residency program, which takes between five and seven years to complete. This extremely challenging program covers all areas of the neurology field. After completing the residency, many doctors elect to continue their educations for another year or two in order to complete a fellowship in a specialized area of study, such as spinal disorders or brain tumors. After two to three years in practice, they must complete an exam given by the American Board of Neurological Surgery.
Treatments Administered by Neurosurgeons
Doctors who complete this highly advanced area of study have been trained in the latest surgical techniques. For those who specialize in the treatment of spinal disorders, some of the surgical procedures they perform may include discectomy, foraminotomy, fusion and spinal instrumentation. Those neurosurgeons may also specialize in certain types of treatments, such as surgery that is minimally invasive or surgery for scoliosis.
If you are planning to speak with a neurosurgeon, consider asking these questions during your consultation:
- Is he board certified?
- Did he complete a fellowship?
- Does he spend at least half his time treating disorders like the one you are suffering from?
- Is he willing to allow you to speak to former patients?
- Is he open to someone accompanying you at your appointments?
At St. Lucie Medical Center, our team provides a wide range of surgical services. To learn more, visit us online or call Consult-A-Nurse® at 1-800-449-8345 for a physician referral throughout Port St. Lucie and the Treasure Coast.
Neurosurgeon FAQ (Neurosurgery.com)
Neurosurgeon Education and Training (Spine Universe)