In order to become a successful neurosurgeon, there are a number of vital skills required. Neurosurgeons also need to have the ability to use a variety of intricate surgical equipment to carry out precise and delicate surgeries.
A neurosurgeon is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the central nervous system, including the brain and spine. They work with patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, and treat a range of disorders including tumors, head or spinal cord trauma, degenerative spine conditions, infections, congenital conditions, movement disorders, and stroke. The work is challenging and requires a particular skill set in order to carry out this highly rewarding role successfully.
Neurosurgeons use a variety of processes and tests to diagnose disorders and develop individualized plans to treat conditions effectively and to prevent recurrences. Their main duties typically include:
- Consultations with patients to discuss symptoms
- Ordering tests to assist in diagnosis (such as MRI, CT scans, and biopsies)
- Performing intricate medical procedures that may last several hours
- Using specialist medical equipment in a sterile environment
- Working closely with a surgical team and other physicians to provide the best care for patients
Key Skills of a Neurosurgeon
Neurosurgeons operate on the most vulnerable organ in the body, which carries incredible responsibilities. In order to carry out their role as effectively as possible, they require a range of skills and must undergo extensive education and training.
Neurosurgeons often work as part of a large multidisciplinary team alongside anesthetists, nurses, surgery techs, medical students, radiologists, and other doctors and surgeons. Neurologists need to be able to work effectively as part of a team and have good communication skills in order to ensure the safety of the patient and the success of the surgery.
Critical Thinking and Interpreting Skills
Neurosurgeons need to be critical thinkers with the ability to actively and skillfully apply, analyze, and evaluate information. They must have the ability to interpret X-rays and other diagnostic scan images to diagnose many different disorders and then apply their knowledge to determine the most effective treatment option. This requires a variety of problem-solving skills to effectively diagnose and treat each individual neurological disease. A neurologist needs to have the ability to make time-sensitive decisions and on an individual basis, as every patient is unique.
Neurosurgery is one of the most technologically involved surgical specialties with new technologies being developed all the time to assist in surgery. Neurosurgeons must have a good technological understanding and the ability to learn about and use new high-tech surgical tools.
Work hours for a neurosurgeon can be irregular and involve lengthy surgeries. They may have to perform emergency surgery in the middle of the night, and surgeries can last for several hours, sometimes. Surgery can be stressful and require the surgeon to stand on their feet with few or no breaks. Physical and mental stamina is essential to provide the best outcomes for patients.
Fine Motor Skills
Dexterity, good hand-eye coordination, and a steady hand are essential requirements for a neurosurgeon because the surgery involves delicate nerves and tissues that can be easily damaged. Using specialized instruments, a neurosurgeon needs to be able to work in very small spaces using intricate and technical maneuvers.
What Equipment Do Neurosurgeons Use?
Along with using highly specialized technology, such as an operating microscope to carry out minimally invasive surgeries, neurosurgeons use a variety of instruments and surgical tools. These are designed to assist in the diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention of a wide variety of disorders. Neurosurgical equipment is designed to be durable, lightweight, well-balanced, and needs to be easily controlled and manipulated in very small areas. Equipment can include the following:
- Curettes are used for precise and delicate microsurgery. They are often used for the treatment of benign or low-grade malignant tumors.
- Hooks and probes are used to manipulate tissues and nerves and to explore areas around the spine.
- Rongeurs are used to create a window within the bone, such as the skull.
- Forceps are used to expose areas for surgery and to grasp, withdraw, or stabilize the tissue.
- Scissors are used for dissecting, cutting, and undermining delicate soft tissues.
- Dissectors are used to separate, lift, and cut tissues during minimally invasive procedures and discectomies.
- Retractors are used to hold an incision open or to hold tissues out of the way during surgery. This allows for better visualization while the surgeon works.
- Elevators are used to lift bone or separate tissues, such as muscle from bone.
Spine Surgery and Neurosurgery in Lone Tree, Parker, Colorado Springs, and Aurora, CO
At Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery, our board-certified neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Rauzzino, is a celebrated expert in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of intracranial and spine disorders.
To find out more about our specialist surgeries and treatments, contact Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery at (303) 790-1800 or you can use our online form to request an appointment. We have four convenient locations to serve you in Lone Tree, Parker, Colorado Springs, and Aurora, CO.