What Training Does One Need to Become a Neurosurgeon?

Becoming a neurosurgeon is not easy and requires much dedication, detail, brain power. This includes years of formal education combined with hands-on training which extends into a decade-long process. This article goes into detail about the different levels of training demanded from those looking to embark on this specialized medical career.

Undergraduate Education

This journey all starts with an undergraduate degree. Students aspiring to become neurosurgeons generally follow a pre-medical track, in which they are required to obtain a solid foundation in specific sciences including biology, chemistry, physics, and other advanced math courses. Although the actual major may be different, these students take classes specifically in preparation of taking medical school entry exams and embarking upon challenging academic work. Neurosurgeon candidates usually spend four years earning their bachelor's degree by this stage.

Medical School

The next important stage is medical school, which typically lasts for about 4 years. Students spend the first two years of the curriculum with classroom and laboratory teaching which includes basic medical sciences such as anatomy, physiology and pathology. The third and fourth years are clinical based years; thus, students rotate in various medical specialties to develop a wide range of hands-on experience. The answer to this is deeper, clinical rotations provide experience in dealing with complex medical situations.

Residency Program

Training is focused at the residency level and neurosurgical training well known as one of the longest and most gruelling in medicine. The residency typically spans seven years and has rotations in general surgery along with sub-specialities within the field of neurosurgery. In the OR, residents are trained to perform surgery under the supervision of attending neurosurgeons. In addition, they dedicate time to research helping them expand their knowledge of neurologic conditions and cutting edge surgical interventions.

Board Certification

Following the residency, neurosurgeons must seek board certification from the American Board of Neurological Surgery. That means clearing an arduous series of oral and written exams that test the neurosurgeon's academic and surgical capabilities.

Subspecialty Fellowship

After residency, a neurosurgeon may choose to advance their specialization by completing a fellowship (lasting one to two years). Pediatric neurosurgery, spine surgery, or cerebrovascular surgery are all subspecialties. Through these fellowships, surgeons are able to develop their skills in a specific area of interest and improve their care for certain conditions.

Renewal of Continuing Education and License

Neurosurgery is an evolving discipline which needs constant learning and fine tuning of skills. To keep up with the latest techniques and technologies, neurosurgeons are required to attend continuing medical education courses and seminars. In addition, they have to re-register their medical licenses periodically, and that generally involves meeting certain educational requirements.

Becoming a Neurosurgeon

To learn more specifically how to become a neurosurgeon, advice-seekers might also refer to detailed guides that address the path through education and training, possible setbacks, and the benefits of a career in neurosurgery.

Neurosurgery is the perfect champagne cocktail of intellectual brilliance, manual dexterity and emotional resilience. This obviously rigorous training process is as vital as it is intense: Neurosurgery is a very high-stakes field, since neurosurgeons conduct emergency surgical procedures where the tiniest mistake could prove deadly. It's a long, but very satisfying journey for those looking to enter this field and put their career at the cutting edge of medical science.

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