Who Is a Neurosurgeon and When Do You Need One?

Mar 29, 2022

The human nervous system is our biological gateway to interacting with the world around us. Neurosurgeons are responsible for diagnosing, preventing, treating, and rehabilitating ailments of the brain, nerves, spine, the cerebrovascular system, and the other delicate parts that form the system. Although visiting a neurosurgeon may bring about its anxieties, given the daunting word in the second half of their job title, not all consultations will necessarily result in surgery. Modern neurological tools for diagnosis and treatment allow neurosurgeons to prioritise minimally invasive techniques to keep their patients as comfortable as possible throughout the treatment process. Read on to learn how visiting a neurosurgeon in Los Angeles can help you. 

Qualification and Training

Neurosurgeons undergo rigorous training to perform delicate surgeries on the intricate organs that construct the nervous system. To become qualified to perform neurosurgery, they have to complete four years of medical school, a one-year general surgery internship, a residency that spans 5-7 years, and additional time to perfect their specialisation of choice (For example: peripheral nerve surgery). 

Neurosurgical Procedures

Once you find a neurosurgeon that you are comfortable with, your diagnostic process will commence. While classifying the nature of neurological care you require, you will be referred to a specialised doctor in that specific field. Keep in mind that neurosurgeons differ from neurologists who treat nervous system diseases, but they do not perform surgery. A neurosurgeon’s specialisation is a testament to their prowess in a specific procedure. The following is a list of some common spinal conditions that neurosurgeons treat regularly:

  • Spinal disk herniation
  • Brain and spine tumours
  • Seizures and movement disorders
  • Brain and spine injuries
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leak
  • Strokes

If minimally invasive treatment methods are not improving a case, a neurosurgeon may recommend surgery. Among some common procedures used to treat and diagnose neurological ailments are:

  • Laminectomy: Laminectomies are procedures used to relieve pressure from an area of the spine. They are a common option of treatment for spinal stenosis, which in simple terms, is the compression of certain areas of the spine, which can lead to pain and loss of sensation and movement. A laminectomy may also be performed to treat the shrinkages of spinal discs, spine tumours, and slipped discs. These surgeries use minimally invasive techniques and may take up to two hours, with some patients going home the same day as the procedure. 
  • Lumbar Puncture: Cerebrospinal fluid is a clear liquid that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord. A lumbar puncture, or spinal tap, is used to collect a sample of the fluid in order to diagnose diseases such as meningitis, myelitis, neurosyphilis, some cancers and other life-threatening diseases. 
  • Spinal Fusion Surgery: This procedure is used to fuse two vertebrae together which, in turn, adds stability to the spine and reduces pain. Spinal fusion surgeries are used to commonly treat scoliosis, degenerative disk diseases, spinal stenosis, fractured vertebrae, tumours and other ailments. 

Before performing any kind of procedures, neurosurgeons carry out thorough diagnostic processes. They educate their patients clearly regarding their condition and use a team of trained professionals to perform the procedures listed above, and many more. A team of medical experts will then be dedicated to providing postoperative care and a comfortable environment to facilitate the healing process.

Signs You Need to Visit One

The question that arises in most patients’ minds before they think of calling a doctor is if they really need to see one. Neurological damages and diseases can be potentially debilitating and greatly affect your quality of life. Identifying some symptoms earlier on and contacting a neurosurgeon is a step forward to managing your pain. 

  • Sensation (Numbness and Pain): A sharp, constant pain in your spinal column or in your head region can be caused by a sizable list of diseases. Numbness in these areas is also an important sign that you should visit a neurosurgeon, so that the source of pain can be identified and eventually, treated. Unusual sensations of pain and numbness can potentially be caused by slipped or herniated discs, spinal stenosis, peripheral nerve damages and a large array of other conditions that must be diagnosed carefully.
  • Seizures: Seizures are characterised by violent convulsions and uncontrolled electrical changes in the brain. During a seizure, it is possible for some patients to lose consciousness during which they may injure themselves. Epilepsy is a disease Some seizures are milder than others and simply require medication, however, some forms of epilepsy may require surgery.
  • Coordination and Movement: A lack of control over movement is caused by the malfunction of the cerebellum and may originate from conditions such as brain tumours, vitamin deficiencies and an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). 
  • Loss of Senses: Sensory loss is defined as the loss or reduction of the ability to smell, feel, touch, hear or see. Symptoms such as these should, in no circumstance, be ignored as they may be caused by damage to the peripheral nerves or even a sign of degenerative central nervous system diseases. 

Getting in touch with your doctor before your appointment may help you be mentally prepared. Reading a neurosurgeon’s reviews can also give you an idea of previous patients’ experience. Websites like www.caredash.com and www.healthgades.com can help you gauge a doctor’s competency.

Consult the Best Neurosurgeon in Los Angeles

If you or your loved ones are experiencing pain that you suspect is neurological, you should contact a medical professional today. Southern California Brain and Spine Surgery offers it’s patients the most advanced neurosurgical treatments and is headed by Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe M.D. She is among the best neurosurgeons in Los Angeles and has amassed a high amount of experience treating brain, spine, back and neck conditions. Here at Southern California Brain and Spine Surgery, we prioritise our patients’ comfort and well-being above all. Visit our website for more information or call us at (213) 369-4583 to schedule a consultation today!