Neurosurgery goes beyond brain surgery, being concerned with diagnosing and treating the entire nervous system -- the brain, spinal cord, spinal column, and the afferent and efferent nerves which innervate the entire body.

Neurosurgeons study and treat congenital, acute, and degenerative spinal problems, pinched nerves, sciatica, low back pain, epilepsy, carpal tunnel syndrome, stroke, Parkinson's disease, brain tumors, pituitary tumors, and brain arterial disorders.

Because the nervous system -- and the battery of techniques used to treat it -- is so complex, neurosurgery is one of the most difficult and time-consuming medical specialties to enter. A neurosurgeon, after graduating medical school and completing a one-year surgical internship program must then complete at least five years in a neurosurgical residency. Next, to become board certified, the ABNS (American Board of Neurological Surgery) reviews the candidate's educational and training, professional practice, the opinions of colleagues, and academic and practical examinations. Finally, once board certified, a neurosurgeon can be come an member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS). AANS members are required to maintain current levels of knowledge throughout their career.

Source: American Association of Neurological Surgeons