Expertise in brain and nervous system surgery
At the OHSU Brain Institute, our goal is to completely remove brain tumors for the best possible patient outcome. Our neurosurgeons and neuro-otologists (doctors who treat the acoustic, or hearing, nerve) perform very specialized techniques to treat brain and central nervous system tumors and blood vessel conditions.
In addition to removing your tumor, your neurosurgeon works to protect healthy brain tissue. OHSU Brain Institute surgeons have the skill, experience and technology to see the brain's delicate structures as clearly as possible and to do surgery without disturbing sensitive tissue. Our neurosurgeons use the latest microscope technology to see and avoid healthy areas of the brain.
This type of microsurgery is the most advanced neurosurgery available anywhere. Surgeons at the OHSU Brain Institute use their knowledge of the brain's intricate structure, including features that can only been seen with a microscope, when they remove brain tumors. They also have the advantage of high-resolution imaging technology, the latest surgery techniques and the experience and skill of OHSU experts from every medical discipline.
All these advances help our doctors remove more and more brain tumors completely. Our expertise leads to better control of brain tumors and better results for more patients.
Neurosurgery is surgery of the whole nervous system
You might think neurosurgery is only brain surgery, but it is much more. A neurosurgeon is a doctor who diagnoses and treats:
- Brain injuries
- Other brain disorders
- Spinal cord and spinal column disorders
- Peripheral nerve disorders (problems with nerves away from the brain and spinal cord)
If you have back or neck pain, a neurosurgeon can help. Neurosurgeons also treat many other conditions, such as trigeminal neuralgia (a disorder of the main nerve in the face), head injury and Parkinson's disease. At OHSU, our neurosurgeons have the experience and skill to treat all types of brain and nervous system conditions.
Neurosurgeons care for both adults and children. Depending on your injury or condition, your neurosurgeon may treat you with surgery or another type of care, such as medication or physical therapy.
OHSU neurosurgical training and expertise
To become a neurosurgeon, your OHSU doctor had to meet the highest standards of medical education and training. Your neurosurgeon:
- Graduated from an accredited (approved) medical school (four years of medical education and training)
- Spent six months to a year in a surgical internship, learning basic surgery skills
- Completed a seven-year accredited neurosurgical residency program (specialty training in neurosurgery)
During residency training, your doctor gained advanced knowledge and training of all aspects of neurosurgery, including:
- The cerebrovascular system (blood vessels of the brain)
- The spine and spinal cord
- Trauma (accident or injury) to the brain and nervous system
- Tumors of the brain and nervous system
- Pain management
- Pediatric surgery (brain and nervous system surgery on children)
As a neurosurgical resident, your neurosurgeon completed at least 60 months (five years) of training in the neurological sciences. He or she spent at least 36 of those months (three years) studying clinical neurosurgery (brain and nervous system surgery) and at least three months treating clinical neurology (nervous system disorders).
After your neurosurgeon finished residency training, he or she took a national examination (test) to be certified as a neurosurgeon. This is called board certification. All doctors who want to be certified in a specialty must pass an examination that tests their knowledge in that specialty. The board examination includes oral and written tests of a doctor's knowledge.
After residency, some neurosurgeons take additional training in a certain area of study This is called fellowship training. The OHSU Brain Institute has a fellowship program that offers this advanced specialty training. If you receive care at the OHSU Brain Institute, you might meet our fellow.
What does a neurosurgeon do?
Your neurosurgeon treats neurological (brain and nervous system) disorders. He or she is an expert in how to prevent, diagnose and treat all types of neurological disorders with surgery and other types of care, such as medication or physical therapy.
A neurosurgeon may also provide critical care (hospital care for seriously ill patients) and rehabilitation (treatment to recover from a neurological disorder).
Because neurosurgeons have extensive training in diagnosing all types of neurological disorders, emergency room doctors, neurologists, internists, family practitioners and osteopaths often consult (talk) with them to diagnose neurological conditions.