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  • Writer's picturePietro D'Urso

What is a neurosurgeon?

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

A neurosurgeon is a doctor that specialises in diagnosing and surgically treating disorders that affect the central and peripheral nervous system (brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles). This includes congenital abnormalities, injuries from trauma, tumours, neurovascular disorders, infections, stroke and diseases of the spine. To become a neurosurgeon, you have to go through extensive training. This often includes:

  • Four years studying medicine at university

  • Four years of medical school resulting in an M.D. or D.O. degree

  • One year in general medicine at a hospital

  • Five-seven years un a neurosurgery residency program

  • Fellowship to specialise in a specific area

  • Continual professional development (this helps to ensure that the surgeon stays up to date with the recent changes and advances in the field)

What is the difference between a neurosurgeon and a neurologist?

A neurologist is responsible for diagnosing, treating and managing conditions that affect the central and peripheral nervous system. This includes conditions such as MS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, headaches and many more. Although they are similar to a neurosurgeon, they are unable to perform surgical treatments in a theatre. Neurosurgeons and neurologists will often work together to get a patient the best treatment option.

What is the central and peripheral nervous system?

The nervous system is a very complex network of nerves and cells that carries messaged to and from the brain and spinal cord. These nerves are extremely important as they control our organs and out limbs; arms, hands, legs and feet. As the nervous system is so sensitive, it is important that surgeons have extensive training so that they know the best way to navigate around the system and therefore get the best possible outcome.

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.

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