Neurosurgery is the highly specialised branch of surgical medicine that involves the surgical, emergency.
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, sleep cycles and so on.
The six-year course in neurosurgery is aimed at providing adequate training to aspiring specialists after graduation itself, so that they may develop the necessary skills and deep understanding of the speciality. Training in basic to advanced skills is provided on residency patterns. The syllabus includes the history of neurosurgery, essentials of neurosurgery and clinical neurology, relevant basic medical sciences, pathology of neurosurgical disorders, principles of diagnostic procedures, performance and interpretation of neuroradiology, common neurosurgical procedures, familiarity with various types of anaesthesia used, pharmacology of various drugs, the performance of general and perioperative care, neurosurgical and associated techniques, neuro-oncology and aspects of tumour and its removal, pain therapy, infections, stereotactic and functional procedures, principles of department organization, recent advances in the field, ethics & legal medicine, seminars and soft skills. In the six-year course, candidates shall spend the first three years as junior residents, and as senior residents during the remaining years. Training in sub-specialities such as neuroradiology, neuropathology, neuro-immunology, neuro-biochemistry, and so on are also provided. Candidates shall maintain a logbook and partake 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 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.
The duration of the course, as stated above, is six years. Students who possess an M.B.B.S from an institution recognized by the medical council of India are eligible to apply. Selection is based on postgraduate entrance tests. Candidates should have at least a two-week rotation in neurosurgery related areas. This branch of medicine is viewed with much curiosity. The wonders of the brain may one day lead humanity ahead. Several research projects are underway that successful candidates may be a part of. Several exciting career prospects await successful candidates such as a senior neurosurgeon, consulting neurologist, emergency neurologist, clinical research associate, lecturer and so on. As neurosurgery is a field with wide applications and prospects, an exciting and bright future lies ahead.