Neurological surgery is the specialized medical field dealing specifically with the treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of diseases affecting the brain and the nervous system. Common disorders that fall under this broad category include stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, head injuries, and cerebral palsy, to name a few. This branch of medicine is highly regarded not only because it provides excellent treatment options for patients who are afflicted with these disorders but also because of the advances that have been made in other branches of neurology such as neurosurgery, pediatric surgery and neonatology. It also provides excellent care for patients who have had strokes, traumatic brain injuries, or suffer from paralysis.
Neurosurgeons are doctors who are trained and certified to surgically repair or treat nerve and brain disorders. Within the realm of neurology, there are 5 main branches that specialize in specific disorders of the nervous system: neurosurgery, neuropathology, clinical neuroanatomy, geriatric, and pediatric. Neurosurgeons are required to undergo specialized training in order to become a neurosurgeon, but all doctors who specialize in this field have completed at least a year of specialized schooling in an accredited medical school, plus a year of post-graduate residency. These doctors are required to obtain board certification in order to perform neurosurgery.
Geriatric encompasses a field that concerns itself with caring for people who are elderly; these doctors are found in hospital settings and also in private offices. Geriatric neurosurgeons focus on issues that concern the functionality and/or maintenance of the central nervous system in patients who are at a higher risk of developing diseases and disorders later in life. Among the disorders they specialize in are Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, head injuries, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, and dementia.
Pediatric provides care for neonatal patients who are under the age of one year. They are also known as neurological surgery specialists, because their primary function is to treat and prevent problems and diseases in children. Some of the disorders they treat include cerebral palsy, birth defects, and gastrointestinal problems.
To become a qualified neurosurgeon you must complete a six-month period of training program, pass written examination, pass a mandatory national exam and obtain a certification in your specific specialty through one of over three national certification boards. Each of the three national certifying boards require that you have completed either a two-year general surgery training program or a six month specialty surgical specialty residency program. Most surgeons choose to complete their training within a year of completing their initial surgical specialty certification. If you choose to continue your education after the certification is achieved you can complete an additional two years of residency training in your specialty.