The two most important areas of application of neurosurgery are procedures involving the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, nerves) and the spine itself. Neurosurgeons are also closely involved in the operative treatment of pain in collaboration with pain clinics, and in stereotactic surgery.

The most attention catching procedures are, of course, those involving brain surgery. They are especially sensitive as the patient's skull is opened and the surgeon operates on the human body's most important structure: the brain.

This organ not only has an enormously functional aspect concerning movement, language, vision, hearing, taste etc., but it is also the repository of human emotion, intellect and personality. Moreover, in the pioneering age of neurosurgery (±1930), brain operations were synonymous with a very high mortality rate, a fact that even today casts a pall on such procedures. Fortunately, this is no longer the case, and as is described elsewhere on this site, technological developments have produced good and safe solutions for most anomalies.

As is the case with other specialisations, neurosurgery too is a multidisciplinary specialty in which the cooperation and close collaboration of neurologists, radiotherapists, oncologists, radiologists, anaesthetists and intensive care specialists is essential for effective treatment of patients with intracranial conditions.

In addition to intracranial brain anomalies, neurosurgeons have traditionally specialised in the treatment of spine anomalies. The best known example of this application is the surgical treatment of lumbar disc hernias in which the first diagnoses and treatments were made and carried out by neurosurgeons. Driven by the biomechanical logic of orthopaedists, restoration of the spine by means of screws, plates, pins and prostheses has now also become part of routine neurosurgery.

Source : A few texts from the pages 'What is neurosurgery' have been copied from the website of the centre for neurosurgery in Zwolle.