Neurosurgery is the medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of patients with disorders affecting the nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. A neurosurgeon may provide either surgical or non-surgical care depending upon the nature of the injury or illness. Accidents that injure the head, spinal cord or peripheral nerves require neurosurgical treatment. Neurosurgeons also care for patients with tumors of the brain or spinal cord. Also, children may be born with a brain or spinal cord malformation or with abnormal spinal fluid circulation that requires neurological surgery to help them live a more normal life. The most common condition that neurosurgeons treat is pain in the neck or lower back spreading to the arm or leg due to a ruptured disc. Abnormal discs that are pinching a nerve may be treated non-surgically through bed rest, back braces or physical therapy. Sometimes surgery is performed to treat the disability or pain symptoms.
In the brain ("brain surgery") some of the conditions commonly seen include:
Some of the spinal conditions treated (in both the lower back and neck) include:
Peripheral nerve problems treated by a neurosurgeon include:
A neurosurgeon has unique training to be able to treat many of these potentially life altering, or life threatening, problems.
The nervous system is a complex network of thread-like nerves and cells that carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord to various parts of the body including the sensory organs, arms, hands, legs, and feet.
Neurosurgery (or neurological surgery) is the medical specialty that concentrates on the diagnosis and treatment of conditions, illnesses and injuries involving the nervous system and its support structures. This includes conditions involving the brain, the spinal cord, the actual nerves, the skull, the bones of the spine, spinal disks, as well as the blood vessels, ligaments and the protective coverings that offer support to the nervous tissues.
Neurosurgeons, neurologists, and other medical professionals work together to provide comprehensive inpatient care for patients with complex neurological disorders. Neurologists often work closely with neurosurgeons, but do not perform surgery.
Intervention by a neurosurgeon can be surgical but is most often non-surgical and is determined by the condition or injury as well as the general health of the person. Such problems may be the result of abnormal development from birth (congenital), from aging or “wear and tear” (degenerative), traumatic from a definite injury, infectious, neoplastic from a tumour or it may be related to other medical conditions or disease.
Neurosurgeons treat issues such as: