Careers In Neurosurgery

Using sophisticated medical instruments and procedures like MRIs and CAT scans, neurosurgeons diagnose and treat a wide variety of neurological issues utilizing microscopes, lasers, and even cerebrospinal fluid analysis (spinal tap). It is also possible for neurosurgeons to diagnose nerve and muscle problems utilizing these techniques.

Neurosurgery is one of the most elite professions in medicine. In fact, there are only about 3,000 neurosurgeons practicing at any given time in the United States. This is due to the rigorous training and unconventionally long periods of schooling that students must endure before becoming certified. Typically, prospective neurosurgeons must complete an undergraduate degree, preferably in the biological sciences, and four years of medical school before they may begin their training as a neurosurgeon. This specialized training typically spans six to eight years, and requires residency of the prospective neurosurgeon at a hospital of their choosing. Usually this is accompanied by an internship lasting one year. Choosing an additional sub specialty is also encouraged. Sub specialties can include pediatrics, oncology, and similar fields. All things encompassed, the time spent training to become a neurosurgeon is considered to be the longest of all possible medical specialties in the United States. This also makes it one of the most competitive specialties from which graduating medical students may choose.

Though becoming a neurosurgeon is a truly significant accomplishment, it comes with its own set of drawbacks. Neurosurgeons are susceptible to constant and intense scrutiny. Neurosurgeons have the highest documented stress level of any surgical field. Far from simply stitching up a flesh wound, their duties include altering or repairing tissues in the human brain, where even a small mistake could be disastrous to the patient. A mistake during a neurosurgical procedure could have dire consequences for the patient such as memory loss, blindness, severe personality changes, or partial loss of mobility. Procedures can take many hours to complete, sometimes lasting for 10 hours. requiring neurosurgeons to have high levels of energy and both mental and physical stamina.

Personality plays a major role in becoming a successful neurosurgeon. Prospective applicants must possess both intelligence and a sincere interest in helping people. Neurosurgery is a process of lifelong learning, and prospective applicants should have an interest in solving problems, dealing directly with patients, and helping to direct the work of others. Issues on ethics can make or break a neurosurgeon, because they are often faced with difficult decisions related to their patients’ well-being.

However, none of this should discourage prospective applicants from steering their career towards neurosurgery. It is considered one of the most prestigious and important positions at any hospital or practice, and the work will prove to be truly rewarding.