A neurosurgeon is, as the name suggests, a type of doctor who diagnoses and surgically treats conditions of the brain, as well as the spinal cord (the other component of the central nervous system), the spine, and the peripheral nervous system. Neurosurgeons have some overlap with neurologists, but neurologists are not licensed to perform surgery. Neurosurgeons are also more likely to treat a physical condition such as a tumor, an injury, an aneurysm, or a nerve-related issue. Not all of the treatments administered by neurosurgeons are surgical in nature. However, if you do need surgery involving the central or peripheral nervous system, a neurosurgeon is the doctor you will most likely see. Given their level of expertise and training, a neurosurgeon may also be asked to do a consultation for another doctor, such as a neurologist or an emergency room doctor.

Reasons to See a Neurosurgeon

Typically, whatever your ailment, a neurosurgeon will not be the first doctor you see. Instead, you will be referred to one by another doctor, possibly your primary care doctor. Neurosurgeons can treat a broad range of conditions, using means both surgical and nonsurgical. According to Dr. Sharma, neurosurgeons most commonly treat the following conditions:

  • Brain tumors
  • Aneurysms
  • Cranial trauma
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Pinched nerves
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Ulnar nerve compression

For example, if you have found yourself experiencing pain or numbness that may be the result of a nerve issue, recently sustained a head injury, or if you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, you may be referred to a neurosurgeon. In emergency cases where timing can make all the difference for treatment and recovery, such as a stroke, a neurosurgeon may be called in as well.

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