What is a Neurosurgeon?
Neurosurgeons operate on the spine and brain. They operate on the spinal cord and the nerves in addition to the spinal bones and discs.
To be a neurosurgeon, one must complete 4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school, and 6-8 years of specialized neurosurgery training. In addition to working on the brain, neurosurgeons apply the same precision and delicacy to spinal operations which is a very large part of they do.
In addition to disc surgery, spinal fusion, and decompression, neurosurgeons have extensive expertise and experience with spinal cord trauma, tumors, and difficult cases that involve brain and spinal disorders that are commonly misdiagnosed or overlooked.
What Does It Take to Be a Neurosurgeon?
Nationwide, only about 105 neurosurgeons graduate from training programs per year. Neurosurgery training is by far the most vigorous and one of the longest medical trainings anywhere in the world. During their 6-8 years of specialized training after medical school, neurosurgeons handle the most common as well as most complex injuries and diseases of the spine and spinal cord. During this extended training, spinal decompression, spinal discectomy, cervical and lumbar spinal fusion surgeries are amongst the types of surgeries they perform. In fact, by far, no other training, including orthopedic surgery residency training, offers such extensive experience and training in spinal surgery. As if that was not enough, some neurosurgeons choose to dedicate an extra year, after completing their Neurosurgery Program, to obtain further specialized training to acquire the most advanced and minimally invasive cutting edge technology in the world and bring it to their patients.
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What Does It Take to Become a Spine Surgeon?
In addition to the extensive training required to be a competent spine surgeon, the most important and perhaps the most difficult part of being a great spine surgeon is understanding the complex dynamics of the spine. The spine supports the weight of the whole body and is constantly moving. Furthermore, it is a complex 3D structure comprised of many segments that have to move in concert to perform their function.
In order to perform a successful surgery, your doctor first has to precisely determine where the pain is coming from. That is not easy. Your doctor must rely on a full examination in conjunction with your MRI to find the source of pain. After finding the correct source of pain, extensive understanding of the dynamics and architecture of the spine as it moves specifically in your body is required in order to come up with the appropriate treatment plan.
Only a very experienced, diverse, and skilled surgeon is equipped to perform spinal surgery in the best possible manner specific to you. Without such qualifications, some surgeons may not be capable to offer you the most minimally invasive, cutting edge, and new solutions that would benefit you the most.