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What is Neurosurgery?

Neurosurgery is the highly skilled specialty devoted to the surgical treatment of issues affecting the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. It is similar to the specialty of neurology, which also treats disorders of the nervous system. Even though there is some overlap, neurosurgery focuses on the surgical treatment of nervous system disorders. However, not every neurosurgery job means surgery -- neurosurgeons may also provide a diagnosis, interpret imaging and test results, or provide non-surgical treatment, depending on the nature of the illness.

Neurosurgeons treat nervous system disorders such as:
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Brain or spine tumors
  • Blood clots in the brain
  • Hydroencephalitis
  • Aneurysms or stroke
  • Seizures
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Carpal or cubital tunnel syndromes
  • Repair of severed nerves
  • Infections of the brain or spinal fluid

Because the nervous system is both so delicate and so complex, neurosurgery has one of the most rigorous and competitive medical education programs. After college and medical school, it is common for a neurosurgeon to require 7-10 additional years of intense training.

New discoveries in this field allow neurosurgeons to heal and accomplish more than ever before, and they are now able to treat many injuries and illnesses that were once fatal.