Neurosurgery Explained

Types of Neurosurgery

Neurosurgery and the central nervous system
The Central Nervous System. Image: © ADAM

Neurosurgery is the surgical specialty that deals with the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord.

Types of Neurosurgeons

A neurosurgeon, who may also be referred to as a brain surgeon, is a specialist who has received extensive training in general surgery. The neurosurgeon typically trains as a general surgeon resident for five years, followed by many additional years receiving additional specialized training in neurosurgery.

These physicians are trained to diagnose, treat, rehabilitate and perform surgery to correct issues that may occur in the nervous system.

If you need to have surgery on your brain or spinal cord, It is important to select a neurosurgeon who is very experienced in type of surgery that you need. It is also important to remember that there is some overlap with other surgical specialties, particularly orthopedics, who also perform back surgeries.

Some neurosurgeons specialize in a specific area of the nervous system while others practice on the brain, neck, and spine. At smaller facilities, they often perform many types of neurosurgery, very specialized surgeons are more typically found at very large facilities. These surgeons may specialize in brain surgery, or they may be "super" specialized, for example, only performing surgeries to remove cancerous tumors from the brain. Others may specialize in surgery on the lower back, neck, or other areas.


Pediatric Neurosurgery

Pediatric neurosurgery is the practice of neurosurgery on patients under the age of eighteen. Some adults may also be treated by a pediatric neurosurgeon, particularly if they have been treated by the neurosurgeon as a child or if the problem that requires surgical intervention was present at birth.

These surgeons are very experienced at performing surgery that is necessary due to a birth defect, as they routinely correct these types of issues, regardless of the age of the patient.

Reasons for Neurosurgery

In children, neurosurgery is typically needed to correct a problem that was present at birth, such as fluid collecting in the brain (hydrocephalus). Trauma is a common reason for neurosurgery. During severe trauma to the head, the brain often begins to swell and surgery may be performed to release this pressure and to provide the brain with room to swell without causing further damage.

Cancer can also be the reason that neurosurgery is needed as cancer can occur in the brain and along the spinal cord. A tumor may need to be removed, or reduced in size during a procedure called debulking.

The Future of Neurosurgery

Neurosurgery advances on a daily basis, with surgical techniques being discovered and perfected. Minimally invasive techniques are being developed to help minimize stress on the brain and body during surgery, and to enable the patient to recover more quickly and easily.

Pronunciation: ner-oh surgery

Also Known As: neuro, neurosurg, neurosurgeons, neurological surgery, brain surgery, spine surgery,

Common Misspellings: nuerosurgery,

Examples: The neurosurgeon had studied for many years to be able to perform brain surgery expertly.

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