Is Neurosurgery Hard? – Surviving and living a meaningful life are two very different things. While ‘surviving’ means capitalizing on the philosophy of ‘one day at a time, ‘living a meaningful life’ is how to make the most of the situation and how the life you have been can be used to the best of its potential. More often than not, people base this categorization on the type of career you chose or the kind of lifestyle you have, and it’s not that one’s lifestyle or career or way of living can be considered greater than the others. Still, something is of way more value. One such thing is the ability to save people’s lives.
Is Neurosurgery Hard?
Out of all the professions there exist, being a doctor is certainly at the top of the list. The ability to help someone when no one else can and when it certainly matters the most because it’ll decide whether you’ll live or die a task like no other. The selflessness and capacity to always put others’ needs before yours is undoubtedly something not anyone and everyone can have. People reach out to doctors when they have lost all their hopes and have nowhere else to go. They certainly are the ‘blessing in disguise’ and ‘gods on earth’ and every such title given to them.
Be it a small infection or flu or something as big as cardiovascular disease or kidney transplant, in any such case, we have to land on the doorsteps of the doctor, and they are the only ones who can make our survival possible. Some diseases are small and are not so complicated, while others are so dangerous that it sickens us to the core even hearing their names. The neurological disease surely comes in the 2nd part, where it’s always difficult, and people are at their worst when the doctors are trying to figure out what went wrong.
There are various kinds of doctors with specialization for every part of the body. Also, in a broader sense, there are two categories under which doctors operate – medicine/physicians and surgery. Surgeons of any type are the elite of the elite category of doctors we have. In that too, being ‘neurosurgeons’ is certainly among the topmost positions in the medical field.
Who Is A Neurosurgeon?
Neurosurgery is the branch that deals with the brain, nerves, spinal cord, or anything and everything related to neurons. If you are very energetic and can even manage to cope with long hours of work along with night shifts too – you surely would be a successful neurosurgeon, and this might be the job for you. Before going into too much detail, let’s talk about the basics 1st. These are doctors who specialize in surgery of the brain, spinal cord, cerebrovascular systems, and also peripheral nerves. Any brain-related disorder, disease, tumor, trauma, infection, or stroke are all to be handled by the neurosurgeons. Neurosurgeons are also attached and in constant contact with the neurologists because they must be in close association to perform and work out on a disease.
Kinds Of Neurosurgical Problems
There are various kinds of neural problems or diseases like:
- Congenital Malfunctions – These are the problems or disorders present in a person on or before the time of their birth. These sometimes also affect the baby pre-birth and therefore lead to baby defects.
- Tumors – These are the developments of abnormal cells which have no actual purpose. They can grow in any part of the body. There are two types of tumors – benign and malignant. Benign, non-cancerous tumors don’t spread to the other part of the body. At the same time, the malignant tumor is also known as the cancerous tumor, is very dangerous and spreads very quickly and harms the person indefinitely if not treated properly.
- Traumatic Injuries – These range from fractures to hemorrhages. Injuries related to the spinal cord or brain, even peripheral nerves like a fracture on the skull or hemorrhage to the brain.
- CNS Diseases – CNS stands for Central Nervous System and has a very huge number of disorders that start malfunctioning the brain and start limiting the health and also the ability to function. Meningitis, Encephalitis, etc. come under this category.
- Psychiatric Disorders – Also known as mental disorders, it is a behavioral or mental problem that causes impairment of personal functioning. For example, mental disorder dismantles the power of perceiving and the power of questioning and observation. Some common problems of psychiatric disorders are OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), MDD (Major Depressive Disorder), Tourette’s syndrome, etc.
- Vascular and Degenerative Problems – This is the condition that affects the working or network of your blood vessel. These disorders range from problems with arteries, veins, vessels, etc. In addition, there are various types of vascular diseases like aneurysms, atherosclerosis, etc.
Neurosurgery requires a very high range of precision and technical as well as dexterity skills too. There are various tools used in neurosurgery and are very expensive to use. There are various tools used to diagnose the disease and ultimately treat neurological disorders. Some are mentioned below:
- COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY (CT) – This technique is a computer-assisted X-Ray machine that takes images of the brain or spinal cord. These are high-quality techniques used to help diagnose the problems and, therefore ultimately helping the patients.
- MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING (MRI) – These use magnetic,and radio waves and are often used to form highly detailed images and access the organs, especially of the soft tissues. Employing the images to figure out what you have and figure out the disease is a very important technique and high efficiency.
- POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY (PET) – This is a device that is used to assess the metabolic function in the nervous system. This is a radioactive tracer and is used to analyze metabolic function.
- MAGNETOENCEPHALOGRAPHY (MEG) – This is a technology that is used to draw out the brain by catching the nerve signals with magnetic receptors. These are equipped with imaging tools, and these are of great importance and help us in finding the disease.
There are various kinds of surgeries, and they are used for different parts of the body. Some are mentioned below:
- STANDARD OPEN SURGERY – Such surgeries need the opening of the skull. These are used to work on the treatment of traumatic injuries. The mechanism used for such treatment is knaniotomy’, a master tool/equipment to detach a part of the bone (bone fl,ap), which is later replaced once we complete the brain surgery. This is a pretty standard procedure and an everyday activity in the life of a neurosurgeon.
- ENDOSCOPIC SURGERY – This is a bit more complicated and as the name suggests and is required to use an endoscope which is a tube-like instrument. The neurosurgeons make a drill in the brain to insert the endoscope and obtain images of portions very further inside the brain. This is a very useful technique and has helped in the growth of medical science. For example, by getting the live images from the brain, doctors can treat internal bleeding, tumors, or even ‘hydrocephalus’ (that is water collection inside of the brain) and various other things.
- STEREOTACTIC RADIOSURGERY – This is a technique in which we use a particularly targeted beam to enable the treatment of tumors or various other things, and therefore these play a significant role in the detection of tumors. It is very similar to how the traffic signal management systems work because this also uses the cameras and also electromagnetic field to gather the exact position of the problem (for example, tumor).
- SPINAL NEUROSURGERY – The spinal cord is made up of three cervical regions (constituting the neck region), thoracic (constituting the middle portion) and lumbar (constituting the lower region). This kind of surgery is used in the treatment of problems like spondylosis, arthritis, or trauma-resulted compressions. The compressions from the traumatic experiences are subjected to power drills or even special instruments made particularly for this mechanism.
- ENDOVASCULAR SURGERY – This technique is highly up to date and is very less invasive, and is used in the treatment of brain disorders that also involve blood vessels like stroke or aneurysm or even brain tumors. In addition, theto treat route of the flow of blood and its circulation can be studied using CT or MRI etc.
- PSYCHIATRIC NEUROSURGERY – Psychiatric disorders are one of the most brutal brain disorders to exist. These can also be treated with neurosurgery even though they might be repelling the standard medications and are also not responding to psychotherapy or ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). This is also called psychosurgery but is not something that is highly recommended, and the outcomes are also very uncertain. Modern psychiatric treatments don’t involve the use of older techniques like lobotomy.
To become a neurosurgeon, you have to be extremely hard working and meticulous about your work. If you are trying to have an easy-going career, neurosurgery is not for you. They require rigorous training and a very extensive level of determination. People often refer to doctors in times of utmost need, and that too when you are a neurosurgeon, having the ability to work for long hours under high pressure is the prerequisite.
The training and certifications required for being a neurosurgeon also require a lot of hard work and continuous efforts for numerous years, and then only it will make sense. You need to have a graduation degree (undergraduate in medicine) followed by a post-graduation in neurosurgery and fellowship and internship pieces of training. Once they have gathered their license from the ‘state medical association,’ they again have to work for several years and practice for several years before being considered eligible to obtain board certification by the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS).
The cost of neurosurgery is also very high, and it’s one of the most expensive procedures to go through. So it certainly helps you earn well, considering everything else, which is one of the advantages among so many others. Still, the responsibility it comes bearing with it is not something everyone can understand and live by.
PROs and CONs OF NEUROSURGERY
- You are the people who can help even the sickest of the patients and help them recover and manage them better. The affection and respect you get after helping these patients is something of another level. They are forever grateful to you for saving their lives, and therefore, doctors are also called ‘Gods of the Earth.’
- These are very challenging situations under which not everyone can survive. You have to have strong and grit confidence in yourself before you decide to become a neurosurgeon.
- You have to be always motivated and very passionate because that comes with the job description. People depend on you with their lives, so you have to be determined and passionate to save them.
- You have the never-ending opportunity for research and the advantage of being able to keep learning.
- The path that leads you to become a neurosurgeon is very rigorous and extremely difficult. It takes an extensive skill set and a lot of training to overcome the obstacle and become a neurosurgeon.
- There is no fixed schedule and working hours vary. Personal life is surely cut down on, and people often have to work for long hours and put in tremendous efforts because the stakes are very high in someone’s life.
- The job also offers tremendous emotional pain. Watching someone suffer is not something everyone can cope up with. So there also is a possibility that it might affect you more than it should and might cause pain and discomfort.
Like any other job, being a neurosurgeon comes with its advantages and disadvantages (maybe more than most jobs), but if you ask how it will be once you are into this field, it will be worth all the wait and pain and discomfort. Saving someone’s life is the most amazing thing anyone can do, and you being a neurosurgeon will save so many lives. So, will it be hard? Yes. Will it cause discomfort? Yes. Will there be a whole lot of problems? Yes.
But all this will surely be worth it.
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