Neurosurgery is a medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of patients with injury to, or diseases/disorders of the brain, spinal cord and spinal column, and peripheral nerves within all parts of the body. The specialty of neurosurgical care includes both adult and paediatric patients. Dependent upon the nature of the injury or disease a neurological surgeon may provide surgical and/or non-surgical care. Neurosurgeon is a physician who specializes in neurosurgery. Neurosurgeons are not just brain surgeons; they are medically trained neurosurgical specialists who can also help patients suffering from back and neck pain and a host of other illnesses ranging from trigeminal neuralgia to head injury and Parkinson's disease. Neurosurgeons provide the operative and non-operative management (i.e., prevention, diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, critical care and rehabilitation) of neurological disorders. 

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Frequently asked questions about Neurosurgery

What is Neurosurgery?

Neurosurgery, or neurological surgery, is the medical specialty concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, surgical treatment, and rehabilitation of disorders which affect any portion of the nervous system including the brain, spinal cord, central and peripheral nervous system, and cerebrovascular system. The specialty of neurosurgical care includes both adult and paediatric patients. Dependent upon the nature of the injury or disease a neurological surgeon may provide surgical and/or non-surgical care.

Who is a Neurosurgeon?

A physician who specializes in neurosurgery. Neurosurgeons assess, diagnose, and undertake surgery to treat disorders of the central nervous system, including the brain and spine. Neurosurgeons deal with patients of all ages, from newborn babies to elderly people, and treat a range of conditions.

When do you need to visit the Neurosurgeon?

You may need to see a neurosurgeon if you have been examined by a primary care physician and told that your symptoms are neurological in nature and require surgery.  Also if you are experiencing symptoms like unusual headaches, dizziness, or atypical pain and numbness, it's time to find a neurosurgeon to fix the problems.

What are the Sub-specialties of neurosurgery?

The main sub-specialties of neurosurgery are:

  • Paediatric neurosurgery – includes facial anomalies, congenital spine defects and tumours
  • Neuro-oncology – the management of brain and spinal tumours
  • Functional neurosurgery – the management of a range of conditions including epilepsy, movement disorders and cerebral palsy
  • Neurovascular surgery – including complex aneurysms and abnormal or narrowed blood vessels
  • Traumatology – to treat head injury
  • Skull-base surgery – disorders of the skull-base and skull-base tumours
  • Spinal surgery – often for elderly patients
How long does it take to recover from brain surgery?

The type of procedure done will determine the recovery period of the person. After brain surgery, the patient is generally kept in the hospital for about a week or so to observe how his body reacts to the surgery. For quick recovery, it is important to have physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language therapy sessions to regain overall strength.

What are the most common reasons for neurosurgery?

Common reasons why people need neurosurgery include:

  • strokes or bleeding on the brain (cerebral aneurysms)
  • Benign or cancerous brain and spinal tumours.
  • Spinal conditions such as tethered spinal cords, herniated discs and osteoarthritis.
  • Head, neck or spine injuries.
  • Seizures, epilepsy and movement disorders.
  • neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease
  • certain types of chronic pain
What is the difference between neurosurgery and neurologist?

The difference between a neurologist vs. neurosurgeon is basic. They both treat the same organ, but neurosurgeons operate and neurologists don't. While both neurologists and neurosurgeons diagnose and treat conditions that involve the nervous system, neurologists do not perform surgery. Neurologists are focused on discovering diagnosis-specific neurological conditions that can be corrected — via medications or other therapies — or require close management

Do neurosurgeons only do surgery?

Neurosurgeons not only perform surgery but will work with you in diagnosing your condition and supporting you through both non-surgical and surgical treatment.

What type of surgery do neurosurgeons perform?

The types of surgeries done by Neurosurgeons as are as below: 

  • Brain surgery. Clot removal. Aneurysm repair. Tumor removal.
  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS)
  • Endovascular procedures. Carotid endarterectomy. Coil embolization.
  • Peripheral nerve surgery. Carpal tunnel release. Ulnar nerve release.
  • Spine surgery. Diskectomy. Laminectomy.
Which are the best neurosurgical hospitals in India?

The best neurosurgical hospitals in Ahmedabad are as below: 

  • Apollo Hospitals, Greams Road
  • Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi
  • Manipal Hospital, Bangalore
  • Max Super specialty Hospital, Saket
  • S. L Raheja Hospital, Mumbai
  • Sahyadri Hospitals, Pune
  • Fortis Malar Hospital, Chennai
  • Aster CMI, Bangalore
  • Continental Hospital, Hyderabad
  • CIMS Hospital, Ahmedabad
  • Apollo Hospitals International Limited - Gandhinagar

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The common signs to seek the medical assistance of a neurosurgeon are:
Atypical Headaches or Migraines: They cause pain and discomfort in the head as well as the rest of the body. Many people have occasional headaches, and some people even have migraines from time to time, which is known as a very severe version of a headache. However, when these headaches or migraines seem to be frequent or significantly more painful, it could be a sign that something is wrong. 

Dizziness or Balance Issues: Being dizzy or lightheaded seems to be happening often, this is not a good sign. If the patient is walking around and feels dizzy often, or even loses balance and fall, it is probably time to find a neurosurgeon.

Unusual Pain or Numbness: Continuous pain and/or numbness can be a sign of nerve damage. Nerves send information from parts of the body to the brain and spinal cord, which control pain. When a miscommunication occurs, pain can be felt by the body, even if there is nothing painful happening.

A brain surgery is required to repair structural problems in your brain. They can either be due to birth defects, diseases, injuries, or any other problems. 

There are several forms of brain surgeries such as:

  • Craniotomy - This type of surgery is done to remove brain tumours, an aneurysm, drain out blood or infection, or remove any abnormal brain tissue.
  • Biopsy - This is done to remove some brain tissues or tumours for inspecting them under a microscope.
  • Minimally invasive endonasal endoscopic surgery - This helps in removing any tumours or lesions from your nose and sinuses.
  • Minimally invasive neuroendoscopy - In this type of surgery, endoscopes are used to remove brain tumours.
  • Deep brain stimulation - In this type of surgery, an electrode is placed inside your brain for transmitting electrical signals
  • Immediately after a brain surgery is done, the doctor monitors to see if everything is working fine or not. The patient is positioned generally to be seated in a raised posture to avoid swelling of the patients face.
  • The stay in the hospital can last up to a week. The patients stay also depends on the type of procedure.  

The types of neurosurgery can be broadly classified as follows:

  • Neuro-oncology: This is a speciality that is focussed on tumours of the brain and the spinal cord
  • Functional Neurosurgery: Surgery to treat problems such as movement disorders, cerebral palsy( is a group of disorders that affect a person's ability to move and maintain balance and posture) and epilepsy( is a central nervous system (neurological) disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness) come under this speciality.
  • Neurovascular Surgery: This speciality is focussed on the blood vessels that supply the nervous system and their related problems such as narrowing, aneurysms, etc.
  • Paediatric Neurosurgery: Neurosurgery that is focussed on the neurological problems that occur in the developmental and childhood stages. This involves the treatment of congenital defects such a spina bifida(is a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don't form properly), tumours and other anomalies.
  • Traumatology: A neurosurgeon who specialises in traumatology treats injuries to the nervous system, such as head injuries, surgically.
  • Spinal Surgery: This speciality is focussed on surgeries of the spinal cord.
  • Skull-base surgery: Neurosurgeons in this field specialize in anomaly surgeries present at the base of the skull.
  • Peripheral Nerve Surgery: surgery to treat neurological disorders that are present in the nerves outside of the brain and spine.
  • Pain following brain surgery can be significant and may lengthen recovery, increasing the amount of time the patient stays in the hospital following surgery, also increasing the risk of complications following surgery. Severe acute pain following brain surgery may also increase the risk of a person developing a chronic post‐craniotomy headache. Approaches to treating pain in adults include treatment with nonsteroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which have been shown to reduce pain for up to 24 hours following surgery.

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