Neurologist vs Neurosurgeon

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Neurologist vs Neurosurgeon

With the advent of modern and hi-tech technologies, developed machines and increasingly growing research, medical science has progressed unbelievably. With increasing specializations, it often becomes difficult to differentiate between medical professionals who work in the same area. Neurology is a specialization of medical science that studies the brain and various aspects related to it. It diagnoses ailments that affect the brain and focus on the treatment of conditions that affect the nervous system. Frequently, the terms neurologist and neurosurgeon are used for medical professionals who treat diseases that affect the brain however the two professions are vastly different. In this blog, we aim to elucidate differences between a neurologist vs neurosurgeon and the prominent features which sets these two careers apart.

Who is a Neurologist & Who is a Neurosurgeon?

Let’s first understand the basic career description of Neurologist vs Neurosurgeon:

A neurologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and the treatment of any medical condition concerning the brain, and the nervous system. They also treat disorders like neurodevelopmental disorders, learning disabilities and all subsidiary conditions that affect the central nervous system.

Neurosurgeons are trained to treat people with surgical procedures in conditions that are chronic and affect the normal functioning of the nervous system like in the case of Parkinson’s disease, aneurysms, birth defects etc. 

When to Consult a Neurologist? 

As Neurologists treat patients that are suffering from problems related to the brain and nervous system, they are specific symptoms realising which you may hit the door of a neurologist. To understand the role of a neurologist and have better clarity over the topic of neurologist vs neurosurgeon, here are some auto common symptoms-

  • Chronic dizziness
  • Changes in sensations or feelings
  • Coordination problems 
  • Constant feeling of heaviness in the head 
  • Headaches 
  • Mental Confusion
  • Muscle weakness

When to Consult a Neurosurgeon? 

Just as a Neurologist, neurosurgeons also treat a bunch of diseases. As neurosurgeons mainly perform surgeries related to the entire nervous system and related body parts, those who consult neurosurgeons are often the ones who have been advised to do so by Neurologists. As we have previously understood, that the main job of a neurosurgeon involves surgical procedures, here are some of the cases they may operate for- 

  • Aneurysm Repair
  • Clipping
  • Endovascular Repair 
  • Disk Removal
  • Craniotomy 
  • Lumbar Puncture 

Note: Candidates must note that this is just for indicative purposes related to better concept clarity and they may seek medical guidance in case of any symptoms. 

Major Differences Between Neurologist & Neurosurgeon

The major difference between a neurologist and a neurosurgeon is fairly clear. While a neurosurgeon can perform surgery to treat medical conditions, neurologists use medicines and other related procedures to cure the conditions and ailments.

Neurologists and neurosurgeons complement each others’ work. While treating a disorder, a neurologist might suggest the patient see a neurosurgeon for surgery while after its completion, the long-term treatment is undertaken by the neurologist. For neurologist vs neurosurgeon, both the medical professionals can conduct complex neurological testings like EEG, MRI but only neurosurgeons can use the reports to undertake surgery to treat the disease while neurologists can only prescribe medicines to treat them or refer the patient to a neurosurgeon to undergo further treatment.

Educational Qualifications and Training

To understand neurologist vs neurosurgeon, it is important to understand the differences in the degrees and specializations undertaken to become a specialist in each of the field. To become a neurologist, it is imperative to undergo four years of pre-med school followed by a medical degree in neurology with additional training in areas related to movement, stroke etc. The educational journey to become a neurosurgeon is longer with four years of pre-med school and the medical school following which the individual has to undertake a longer house residency during which aspiring Neurosurgeons are required to acquire skills in areas of the spine, or peripheral nerve surgery amongst others.

Conditions Treated

Another basic concept to know to understand the neurologist vs neurosurgeon debate is the conditions treated by each professional. Neurologists are involved in the treatment of disorders that are neurological in nature like epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, peripheral nerve disorders, ALS amongst others. On the other hand, Neurosurgeons treat people with trauma to the brain, tumour removal, carpal tunnel syndrome. Both the professional works in a close association with each other and treat their patients accordingly combining medical and surgical procedures if needed. 

Top Universities for Courses in Neurology & Neurosurgery

For becoming either a neurologist or a neurosurgeon, it is of utmost importance to attend a medical school. There are many medical schools in the world that offer degrees in this field. Tabulated below are some of the best medical colleges and universities in the world that can help a person on their dream of becoming a neurologist or neurosurgeon. 

University Country
Harvard Medical School The United States of America
Stanford Medical School The United States of America
University of Cape Town South Africa
Karolinska Institute Sweden
University of Sydney Australia
John Hopkins University The United States of America
UCL Medical Schoool United Kingdom
Duke University School of Medicine The United States of America
Washington University School of Medicine The United States of America
Medical College of Wisconsin The United States of America

Neurologist vs Neurosurgeon: Final Words

Although there are significant differences between Neurologists and neurosurgeons, it is their responsibilities in medical management that overall and ultimately creates a cross between the common people. To put in simpler words, both Neurologists and Neurosurgeons treat patients with diseases related to the nervous system but neurologists do not perform any surgery. Neurologists work towards gorging out the specific disorder that can be corrected simply through drugs or therapy by following a strict routine. However, during diagnosis, if a physical cause of a neurological illness is detected, then, the neurosurgeons come into the picture and help patients by performing surgical procedures. You will come across various scenarios where both neurosurgeons and neurologists together help patients recover from an illness. 

We hope this blog has cleared all your doubts about the neurologist vs neurosurgeon topic. Do you wish to pursue a medical degree from one of the best medical schools in the world? Experts at Leverage Edu will help in making your dream come true. They can assist you in selecting the right medical school as per your chosen specialisation, course and preferences! Sign up for a free career counselling session with us now!

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4 comments
  1. This blog has cleared all my doubts about the difference between a neurologist & a neurosurgeon. Thanks for sharing the blog.

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