Neurological surgery is a medical discipline in which qualified doctors train and become specialists in treating disease and trauma to the brain, spine, peripheral nerves, and arteries of the neck. Surgeons specializing in neurological surgery are involved in providing surgical and non-surgical treatments, the determination of which is based on what is best based on the diagnosis of the surgeon.
What a Neurosurgeon does
A neurosurgeon can undertake the care of a patient from the diagnosis of a medical condition to treatment and on to rehabilitation of a patient. To find a diagnosis of diseases affecting a patient, a neurosurgeon often uses non-surgical techniques, including computer-assisted tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. In the 21st century, the medical discipline of micro neurosurgery has reduced the size of incisions required to treat the brain, neck, and back problems.
Included in the medical conditions treated by neurological surgeons are back problems, such as spinal disc herniation and lumbar spine stenosis; trauma injuries are often treated by neurosurgeons, including both spinal and head trauma. Problems with discs and spinal cord problems can be severe for patients as they can result in painful or loss of feeling in the arms, legs, and extremities of the body. Neurosurgeons also treat medical conditions affecting the brain; American neurosurgeon Harvey Williams Cushing, often described as the father of modern neurosurgery, was a pioneer in improving the survival rates of brain surgery patients in the early years of the 20th century.
Neurological surgery is not limited to the treatment of the brain, neck, or back but can include treating the peripheral nerves of the body. Neurosurgeons commonly treat carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome when a nerve is pinched at the wrist and elbow, respectively. Peripheral nerve problems can also include the severing of nerves during traumatic accidents and tumors affecting the peripheral nerves. Medical conditions affecting the brain and central nervous system are now treated by neurological surgery; these conditions include Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease that are often treated using experimental neurosurgical techniques.
Training for a career in neurological surgery takes several years after completing medical school, usually between six and seven years. Because of the nature of many of the conditions treated by neurosurgeons, other members of the medical profession commonly refer patients to neurosurgeons. Neurosurgeons are often on call for emergency rooms, so they are available to make decisions on whether surgery is required to treat the medical problem.