Neurosurgeons are highly trained and skilled surgeons that specialize in providing surgical treatment for patients suffering from neurological disorders - many complex disorders affect the nervous system.
Neurosurgeons perform a variety of surgeries and procedures that save lives or increase the quality of life in their patients. They are capable of performing corrective surgeries due to central nervous system trauma (of the brain and spine), degenerative diseases, congenital disorders, brain hemorrhages and brain tumors, among others.
Neurosurgeons perform some of the most complicated and complex surgeries and procedures in all of medicine, all of which require extreme skill and precision. Procedures performed by neurosurgeons may include the insertion of electrodes for a variety of treatments, excising certain parts of the brain or stimulating the brain with probes. Neurosurgeons often perform minimally invasive endoscopic surgeries including endonasal surgery and ventricular endoscopy, reparation of craniofacial disorders, cranioplasty, and endovascular image guided procedures for treating aneurysms, AVMs, strokes, spinal malformations, and other complications.
These highly trained surgeons may also perform foraminotomy spinal instrumentation, discectomy, and fusion. Neurosurgeons also treat conditions such as syringomyelia, craniosynostosis, and chiari malformation; many neurosurgeons specialize in one type of area of surgery, or on one particular neurological disorder, although this is not always it case.
Training to become a neurosurgeon requires one of the most arduous and demanding educational paths in all of medicine, taking approximately 16 years to complete. First, the student must earn a bachelor's degree before completing medical school to earn a four year MD or DO degree. Followicang graduation from medical school, the physician must enter into a residency program that takes approximately 6 to 8 years to complete.
In a typical neurosurgery residency, the physician will be trained in the basic skills of surgery during the first 12 months. Subsequently, a three to four year program as a neurosurgical resident must be completed, which includes an additional three months of neurology training. The final two to three years of the residency will usually be spent in neuropathology, neurology, research, additional neurosurgery and/or neuroradiology.
After successful completion of the residency requirements, the physician must take and pass a licensure examination to be qualified to practice and perform surgeries. Many neurosurgeons seek board certification from the American Board of Neurological Surgery.