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Overview of neurosugery

Neurosurgery refers to any surgical treatment of your head, spine, or nervous system. The nervous system includes the spinal cord, brain, and network of nerves throughout your body.

Neurosurgeons diagnose and treat many diseases, including strokes, seizure disorders, back problems, and brain and spine tumors and injuries. Neurosurgeons also perform surgery on the back, neck, brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.

Neurosurgeons treat a variety of conditions involving the head, brain, neck, spine, and nerves, including:

  • Epilepsy and other seizure disorders
  • Cancers affecting the nerves, brain, and spine
  • Some types of chronic pain resulting from neurological conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Strokes and aneurysms that involve bleeding in the brain
  • Spinal conditions affecting the spinal cord
  • Head, neck, and spine injuries
  • Congenital disabilities involving the spine, brain, or nervous system


Neurosurgical specialists perform a wide variety of procedures involving the brain, spine, and nervous system. Some types of neurosurgery include:

  • Vascular surgeries involving blood vessels in the brain, such as aneurysm treatment
  • Stereotactic neurosurgery, functional neurosurgery, and epilepsy surgeries that involve operations on the brain tissue
  • Oncological neurosurgery, which treats cancer in the neurological system
  • Skull base surgery
  • Spinal surgeries
  • Peripheral nerve surgery
  • Pediatric neurosurgeries

More specifically, neurosurgery includes the following procedures:

  • Surgery to treat pain: carpal tunnel release, deep brain stimulation, and spinal cord stimulation
  • Treatment for epilepsy: lobectomy, deep brain stimulation, and vagus nerve stimulation
  • Vascular surgery: brain aneurysm repair and carotid artery surgery
  • Back and neck surgery: spinal fusion, vertebroplasty, lumbar fusion, laminectomy, laminoplasty, discectomy, and laminotomy
  • Cerebral angiography: a type of x-ray using dye to show how blood flows through brain arteries
  • Gamma Knife®: surgery to treat certain brain tumors
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap): can test for infections and diagnose other conditions such as hydrocephalus, spinal cord tumor, and multiple sclerosis
  • Nervous system biopsy to check for cancer and other diseases

The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.