Neurosurgery is the highly specialised branch of surgical medicine that involves the surgical, emergency and sometimes non-invasive treatment of the disorders.
Neurosurgery is the highly specialised branch of surgical medicine that involves the surgical, emergency and sometimes non-invasive treatment of the disorders, diseases and injuries of the brain, spinal cord and the entire nervous system. Neurosurgeons also work in tandem with emergency specialists and are also responsible for post-surgical rehabilitation. The conditions that require the attention of neurosurgeons include lower-back pain, disorders of the peripheral nervous system, brain tumours, carpal tunnel syndrome, meningitis, spinal disk herniation, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, cervical & lumbar spinal stenosis, hydrocephalus, head trauma, brain haemorrhage, vascular malformations, and so on. Various diagnostic methods that neurosurgeons employ include computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), magnetoencephalography (MEG), and stereotactic radiosurgery among others. The various surgical procedures that come under neurosurgery are open brain surgery, microsurgery, stereotaxy, endoscopic surgery, surgical repair of craniofacial disorders, VP shunt, discectomy, laminectomy, carpal tunnel decompression, and peripheral nerve transposition. As an ever-evolving branch of medicine with unlimited potential, neurosurgery has witnessed several advancements over the years. These include application of neuroendoscopy in pituitary surgery, frameless stereotaxy, subthalamic stimulation, interventional MRI, the evolution of spinal surgery as a subspecialty, side-viewing endoscope in trans-sphenoidal pituitary surgery, use of artificial intelligence in understanding neural networks and functions of the brain, and so on.
The course Master of Chirurgiae (M.Ch.) in neurosurgery is designed to train competent surgeons who can diagnose and perform all neurological surgical procedures, and manage emergencies in consultation with other specialists. As a highly specialized and complex area of study, the curriculum is designed in a practical and multidisciplinary way. The syllabus of the course include areas such as the history of neurosurgery, micro neurosurgery & neuroradiology, clinical evaluation of the nervous system, common neurosurgical disorders, application of cellular and molecular biology principles, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, epidemiology, essentials of neuropathology, principles, techniques and interpretation of diagnostic tests, the performance of general and perioperative care, neurosurgical and associated techniques, neuro-oncology and aspects of tumour and its removal, familiarity with concepts of anaesthesia, pharmacology of various drugs, trauma and disorders of the nervous system, pain therapy, infections, stereotactic and functional procedures, principles of department organization, recent advances in the field, ethics & legal medicine, seminars and soft skills. The curriculum also makes it essential for residents to maintain a logbook, publish at least one research paper and participate in research activities of the department. After the completion of the course, candidates are expected to possess skills such as the ability to perform clinical investigations, diagnose and plan treatment for all neurosurgical disorders, the knowledge to perform and interpret all common investigative procedures, the ability to perform common and advanced invasive procedures and non-invasive procedures as needed, the understanding of allied areas to ensure a multidisciplinary approach, the presence of mind and understanding to manage emergencies, plan and continue post-operative rehabilitation, the keen mind to understand recent developments and assimilate them into practice, the ability to undertake or be part of research in the field, the knowledge to train students of neurosurgery and also paramedics, the display of effective communication skills, and the ability to practice the profession with empathy within the ethical-legal ambits of the nation.
Students who possess M.S. in general surgery from an institution recognized by the medical council are eligible to apply. The duration of the resident programme may vary but is generally five years long. Admission is through entrance tests and interviews. Further, candidates are expected to perform skills of resuscitation, emergency management, inpatient and outpatient treatment procedure knowledge in front of a panel. Several exciting career prospects await successful candidates such as a senior neurosurgeon, consulting neurologist, emergency neurologist, clinical research associate, lecturer and so on. They can also choose to pursue further sub-specialities.