There are many different types of doctors who specialize in treating nervous system conditions. When it comes to neurological disorders, you want to make sure you’re seeing the right specialist for your needs. While neurologists and neurosurgeons are medical doctors specializing in treating these disorders, there are some key differences between the two professions.
So what’s the difference between a neurologist and a neurosurgeon? Here’s a look at the key differences between these two medical specialists.
What Is a Neurologist?
A neurologist is a medical doctor specializing in diagnosing and treating nervous system disorders, including the brain, the spinal cord, and the peripheral nerves. Neurologists use various diagnostic tools to assess their patient’s condition, including MRI, CT scans, and EEGs. They also often work closely with neuropsychologists to provide comprehensive care.
What Is a Neurologist’s Area of Expertise?
Neurologists play an essential role in the care of patients with neurological conditions. They work closely with other healthcare team members, including primary care physicians, neurosurgeons, and rehabilitation specialists.
Some common conditions that neurologists treat include Alzheimer’s disease, brain tumors, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke. Neurologists may also treat other less common conditions.
In most cases, neurologists work in outpatient clinics or hospitals. They may also work in private practice. Some neurologists conduct research.
Neurologists typically need to complete four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school, and 3 to 8 years of additional training. Board certification in neurology is required in most states.
What Is a Neurosurgeon?
A neurosurgeon is a medical doctor specializing in surgical procedures involving the nervous system. Neurosurgeons use various surgical techniques to treat their patients, depending on their specific condition. In some cases, neurosurgeons may also use minimally invasive procedures, such as endoscopic surgery.
What Is a Neurosurgeon’s Area of Expertise?
Neurosurgery is a highly specialized field of medicine. Neurosurgeons must complete a four-year college degree and four years of medical school. They then complete a residency program in neurosurgery, which lasts for at least seven years.
Neurosurgeons are experts in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the nervous system. These conditions can include:
- Brain tumors
- Cerebral aneurysms
- Epidermoid cysts
- Pineal tumors
- Pituitary tumors
- Skull base tumors
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Vascular malformations
- Spinal stenosis
- Herniated discs
- Pinched nerves
- Spine deformities
- Spine fractures
- And more.
Neurosurgeons use a variety of surgical and non-surgical techniques to treat these conditions. Surgical techniques include:
- Craniotomy: This is a type of surgery that involves opening the skull to access the brain.
- Endovascular surgery: This is a type of minimally invasive surgery that is used to treat conditions that affect the blood vessels.
- Spinal surgery: This type of surgery is used to treat conditions that affect the spine.
Non-surgical techniques include:
- Stereotactic radiosurgery: This type of therapy uses high doses of radiation to target specific areas of the brain.
- Gamma knife surgery: This type of radiosurgery uses a focused beam of gamma rays to target specific areas of the brain.
Get the proper expert diagnosis and treatment for neurological disorders
Both neurologists and neurosurgeons play essential roles in the care of patients with disorders of the nervous system. Although the terms neurologist and neurosurgeon are often used interchangeably, they have different areas of expertise.
Suppose you are experiencing symptoms that suggest you may have a neurological disorder. In that case, it’s important to consult with a medical expert who can help determine the cause and recommend the appropriate treatment.