A neurosurgeon is a medical doctor who specializes in evaluating, diagnosing and treating conditions of the brain, spine and nervous system. Neurosurgeons have extensive training, knowledge and experience performing some of the most complex surgical procedures the human body can undergo.
The central and peripheral nervous system starts in the brain and extends to internal organs, arms, hands, legs, feet and face. The central nervous system controls most of the functions and sensations of the body through nerves that carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord to other parts of the body.
Neurosurgeons also diagnose and treat conditions affecting the structures that support the nervous system: the nerves, the skull, spinal vertebrae, spinal discs, blood vessels, protective membranes and soft tissues.
Keep reading to learn more about neurosurgeons and what they do.
The terms neurologist and neurosurgeon are often used interchangeably — and while the two specialities are closely intertwined, they are different.
If you have a medical condition or injury that affects the brain and nervous system, you may see a neurologist for evaluation and diagnosis. If a neurologist determines that your condition requires surgery, you’ll need to make an appointment with a neurosurgeon for further medical advice and surgical treatment.
Neurosurgeons complete several years of medical school and undergo extensive training before performing complex surgical procedures involving the brain, spine and nervous system. In fact, neurosurgeons undergo one of the longest training periods of any medical specialty. To be qualified to perform neurosurgery, a physician must successfully complete:
Additionally, many neurosurgeons seek fellowship training in an area of specialty like the spine or peripheral nerve surgery.
Neurosurgeons also have a high degree of expertise in the technical tools used to diagnose and treat neurological conditions. They are skilled at operating and analyzing computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) scans, magnetoencephalography (MEG), electroencephalograms (EEG), and computer-assisted tomography (CAT) scans.
A neurosurgeon is skilled in several surgical techniques, including open surgery, minimally invasive surgery, endoscopic surgery, microsurgery, radiosurgery, endovascular surgery and chronic pain interventional procedures.
When you hear “neurosurgery,” the first association many people make is “brain surgery.” However, many neurosurgeons spend more time diagnosing and treating spine conditions than brain conditions. Neurosurgeons commonly treat:
Despite the word “surgeon” in the title, surgery is not the only treatment that neurosurgeons perform. They typically try all non-operative treatment methods — like medications, injections and therapies — before recommending surgery. If you do need surgery, your neurosurgeon will determine if you’re a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure.
At Integrity Spine and Orthopedics, our surgeons are board-certified and fellowship-trained in minimally invasive spinal surgeries. Minimally invasive procedures have several benefits over traditional open surgeries. They require smaller incisions, cause less muscle and tendon damage, and reduce the risk of post-op infections. Additionally, less invasive procedures have a shorter recovery and rehabilitation period. Our skilled team has experience performing minimally invasive spine surgeries for painful and debilitating conditions like herniated discs, pinched nerves, sciatica, spinal stenosis, arthritis, degenerative disc disease and spinal deformities.
Whether you’re suffering from an acute injury or chronic pain, Integrity Spine and Orthopedics has the orthopedic care, pain management, sports medicine, and surgery services to help you to get back on your feet and back to doing the activities you love.
We have a convenient clinic located in Jacksonville, FL. Please call us or reach out online to schedule your first appointment.