People often equate neurosurgery with brain surgery alone, but in fact, it’s a specialized medical field dedicated to the treatment of conditions affecting the entire nervous system. A neurosurgeon may perform brain surgery, of course, but he or she is also qualified and trained to operate on the spine and spinal cord; peripheral nerves (which are the nerves that transfer sensory information from our extremities, such as arms, legs, eyes and ears); and areas of the neck, such as its arteries.
Neurosurgeons are instrumental in the expert treatment of head trauma, as well. The removal of blood clots, brain tumors and fluid build up around the brain are all operations that fall to a neurosurgeon.
There are other common conditions treated during neurosurgery.
- blood vessel malformations and abnormalities that could result in aneurysms
- blocked or clogged arteries that could result in a stroke
- damaged portions of the brain proven responsible for seizures can be removed by a neurosurgeon
- conditions of the spinal cord and spine are often treated, such as spinal injuries and disc problems that are causing pain in the extremities
- carpal tunnel syndrome is a peripheral nerve related condition that neurosurgery can often correct
- nerve problems such as severed nerves from trauma or nerve tumors can be treated or removed
These are just a very few of the conditions neurosurgeons can treat, and because of their extreme specialization – following medical school, it is not uncommon for a neurosurgeon to remain in training for six to eight additional years – they are often referred to by more general practitioners to assist with diagnosis and treatment planning.
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