When your primary care doctor recommends you see a neurosurgeon, you may be anxious and afraid. However, you should know that neurosurgeons do more than perform complex surgery. In fact, neurosurgeons offer a lot of treatments other than surgery.
What Is a Neurosurgeon?
A neurosurgeon is a medical specialist with advanced training in diseases, conditions, and structural problems associated with the brain, spinal cord, spinal column, and peripheral and central nervous system (PNS and CNS). Usually, a board-certified neurosurgeon completes five to seven years of residency to prepare for this highly complex specialty.
Seeing a neurosurgeon does not always mean a patient needs surgery. In fact, our physicians at Front Range Spine And Neurosurgery use conservative, or non-invasive, treatments first, before even considering minimally-invasive (small incision) or open surgery.
Why Would My Doctor Refer Me to a Neurosurgeon?
Your primary care doctor may deduce that in order to diagnose and treat your symptoms effectively, you need a neurosurgeon. This specialist has in-depth knowledge about the brain, CNS, PNS, spine, and the conditions and diseases that can impact them. Perhaps your symptoms have persisted despite front-line treatments. Or, maybe you want a second opinion about a cranial disorder, such as hydrocephalus, or a degenerative brain condition, such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease.
Whatever the case may be, your neurosurgery consultation doesn’t necessarily mean surgery is in your near future. Instead, it means you’ll receive a comprehensive neurological exam, a review of your symptoms and medical history, and sophisticated diagnostic imaging, such as an MRI with contrast dye, to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. From there, the best treatment options will be discussed with you to create a treatment plan. It may very well be the case that based on the information collected, your neurosurgeon will suggest a non-invasive treatment.
What Conditions Does a Neurosurgeon Treat?
There are many acute and chronic conditions, injuries, and congenital malformations that a neurosurgeon can treat. Examples include:
- Cerebrospinal fluid leaks
- Traumatic brain injury (TBS)
- Spinal fractures
- Degenerative conditions, such as Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS)
- Pituitary tumors
- Brain tumors
- Carotid artery stenosis
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Headaches, including migraines
- Spina bifida
- Spinal stenosis
- Cervical spine instability
- Lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spine pain
What Non-Surgical Treatments Do Neurosurgeons Offer?
Neurosurgeons offer the latest advanced treatments available in the field of neurology. This includes medications, acupuncture, massage, physical therapy with both passive and active exercises, pain injections (epidural blocks), and advanced rehabilitation techniques, including shunting of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and bracing for scoliosis.
In addition, neurosurgeons work closely with other specialists to provide the most precise and effective treatment for conditions that overlap with other medical specialties. Treatment plans are always customized to the needs and preferences of the patient, so your treatment plan may not necessarily be identical to someone else with a similar condition.
Superior Nerve, Brain, Spine, and Back Care in Lone Tree, Aurora, Colorado Springs, and Aurora, CO
If you are nervous about what to expect, rest assured that there are many treatment approaches to neurological conditions. Many of our treatment plans at Front Range Spine And Neurosurgery postpone the need for surgery or eliminate it altogether.
Drs. Rauzzino, Boyer, Duhon, and Szuszczewicz are our board-certified neurosurgeons. You can trust their expertise and patient-centered treatment approach to give you the results you want using the treatment methods you are comfortable with.