What Is Neurosurgery?

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.