About 1.4 million Americans suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) every year. Many of them will have a neurosurgeon as part of their treatment team, even if they never undergo a surgical procedure for their injury.
While neurosurgeons are the go-to medical practitioners for brain issues, it’s only part of their responsibilities, which also include injuries and diseases of the spinal column and peripheral nervous system.
The doctors at Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center treat conditions ranging from brain surgery to back pain. Understanding the reality behind the neurosurgical field makes it easier to recognize when this discipline can help improve your health. Here are some of the most prominent myths about neurosurgery and the facts behind them.
Myth: Neurosurgeons only work on the brain
Brain surgery is a large part of the neurosurgical specialty, it’s true, but it’s not the sole focus. In fact, over 70% of neurosurgical procedures involve the spine and spinal cord.
While your brain is the central processor of your body, the spinal column is an intricate system that connects the body with your brain, encased by a biomechanical structure that protects the spinal cord and nerve branches while simultaneously supporting the body from the pelvis up and allowing a wide range of movement. A neurosurgeon understands the complex interrelationships of all these systems.
Myth: Surgery is your only treatment option
Surgery is not always the best option for treating neurological disorders, and perhaps there’s no doctor better placed to know this than a neurosurgeon. In many cases, you’ll find that the neurosurgeon spends plenty of time investigating ways to avoid or minimize surgery, which can be a last resort option for many conditions.
Neurosurgeons frequently consult with professionals in other medical fields to ensure neurological considerations are fully explored before proceeding with treatments.
When surgery is necessary, many neurosurgeons, like Dr. Abhishiek Sharma and Dr. Erik Curtis at Atlas Neurosurgery, specialize in robotic and other minimally invasive surgical methods. This approach limits damage to surrounding tissue while often reducing post-surgical recovery times.
Myth: Only neurosurgeons perform spinal surgery
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Doctors without neurosurgical training can perform some of the same procedures. Yet, neurosurgeons require one of the longest training schedules of any medical practitioner. Not only do they undergo the typical four years of medical school followed by an internship that typically lasts for a year, they also have another five to seven years of residency.
If they choose to train for a neurological subspecialty, that could add another year. That’s 10 to 15 years of post-secondary education. When you need surgery on your brain, spine, or or aspects of your nervous system, that knowledge and experience may be what delivers your best results.
Contact Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center by phone or online at any of our three locations to schedule a consultation when you require neurosurgical care. There are times when a specialist is the right choice. Book your appointment now.