Every year at least 1.5 million Americans sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Most of these patients seek medical care in health facilities that offer neurosurgical interventions.

There’s at least one neurosurgeon for every 61,000 Americans. A neurosurgeon diagnoses and treats brain and nervous system injuries.

Such procedures are possible through surgical and nonsurgical procedures. There’s a lot that goes into the neurosurgical process.

Have you always wondered what goes on within the neurosurgery field? Here are facts about neurosurgery you should know.

Read on to learn more

1. There Are More Than Seven Sub-Specialties in Neurosurgery

Most people imagine that neurosurgeons do everything. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The term neurosurgeon is a comprehensive cover for a wide range of sub-specialties.

Here are seven main sub-specialties within the field.

Pediatric Neurosurgery

Pediatric neurosurgery is among the most common areas of specialty in neurosurgery. This subspecialty covers surgical procedures related to the nervous system—however, the main focus for pediatric neurosurgeons in the welfare of children.


Around 700,000 Americans are living with brain tumors today. These individuals need professional medical support.

Such support helps them to deal with issues that include brain and spinal tumors. The primary role of neuro-oncologists is to provide support for the management of spinal related tumors.

Neurovascular Surgery

Neurovascular surgeons specialize in the identification and strengthening of blood vessels. Do you have a condition leading to brain abnormalities? Such concerns stem from the vascular anomalies and require neurovascular surgery.

Functional Neurosurgery

Did you know that epilepsy affects more than 3.4 million people in the United States? This condition is among the common functional disorders that affect both adults and children.

Functional neurosurgery involves managing a wide range of conditions. Such conditions include epilepsy, movement disorders, and cerebral palsy.


In 2014, more than 155 Americans died daily due to traumatic brain injuries. Traumatology neurosurgeons treat a wide range of TBI-related incidents daily. It would help to understand that these specialists focus on the repair of damages caused to the brain.

Skull-Based Surgery

Patients who suffer from skull-based disorders or injuries should seek professional help from skull specialists. These specialists focus on a different line of work from what neuro-oncologists specialize in when dealing with injuries. If you’re looking for the best neurosurgeon, you can reach out to Robert Louis, MD.

Spinal Injury Specialists

As noted earlier, neurosurgery also encompasses spinal injury interventions. Spinal neurosurgeon undertakes the procedures either during residency or as an additional fellowship.

Spine surgery is among the most important procedures for injuries common among older patients.

2. Neurosurgeons Need At Least 15 Years of Study

Most established neurosurgeons put in at least one and a half decades of study before ranking as a senior residential neurosurgeon. This period is perhaps the reason for the scarcity in the number of neurosurgeons in the United States.

Before starting residency training, an aspiring neurosurgeon must complete four years of underground education. This period forms the foundation of primary education for these specialists. Once the first four years of undergraduate education are over, an aspiring neurosurgeon then proceeds to medical school.

Medical school takes another four years. Depending on the specialty, a neurosurgeon typically puts in a minimum of four years in medical school. However, this period may last up to ten years.

Most neurosurgeons then proceed on to a residency program that takes up to 7 years to complete. This combined period of learning and studying prepares neurosurgeons for the nature of the work they handle.

3. Neurosurgeons Undertake Some of the Most Complex Procedures

The brain controls virtually every function in the body. Any procedure to the brain can potentially expose the body to grave functionality dangers. As such, neurosurgeons perform some of the most complex procedures in the human brain.


A craniotomy is one of these intricate procedures. Neurosurgeons use surgical microscopes to make narrow openings when operating on the brain. The process of removing brain tumors from human brains is perhaps one of the most complex procedures.

About 96% of patients who undergo craniotomy procedures can head directly home after such surgeries without needing inpatient care. This impressive statistic is despite the complexity of the procedure.


Neuroendoscopy is the other specialized yet complex procedure that neurosurgical scientists undertake. This important process involves the treatment of deep-rooted tumors within the brain and the skull base. Part of the reason that makes this procedure unique is the ability to ensure minimum invasiveness during the process.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Neurosurgeons also undertake a vital procedure that involves stereotactic radiosurgery. While this procedure also involves the removal of tumors, it focuses on the use of radiation instead of surgical procedures. However, the procedure is equally non-invasive.

4. Neurosurgeons Aren’t the Highest-Paid Medics

Contrary to popular assumptions, neurosurgeons aren’t the highest-paid specialists. Neurosurgeons don’t feature in the top ten list of the highest-paid physicians. Here’s a breakdown of what specialists in the field make.

The average starting range for orthopedic spine surgeons is around $465,000. Conversely, a neurological surgeon will earn, on average $395,000 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average pay for an entry-level position was around $100 per hour in the field in the year 2018.

The average pay for these specialists increases with experience. An entry-level neurosurgeon earns around $270, 000. However, the possibility of growing income two-fold depends on the years of practice.

5. The Cost of Training Neurosurgeon Is Over the Roof

There are only around 5000 neurosurgeons in the United States. Part of the reason very fewer people are attracted to this field is the high cost of training a neurosurgeon. You need at least 15 years of consistent learning to achieve the rank of a resident neurosurgeon.

This period of ongoing education has a toll on most aspiring neurosurgeons. The average cost of training a neurosurgical resident is anything close to around $1.2 million per resident. This cost only considers the seven-years of residency.

If you consider at least eight years of pre-residency training, then the figure is massively inflated. The cost and the time involved when training such resident neurosurgeons can be overwhelming.

6. There’s a Skills-Gap in the Field of Neurosurgery

The United States will have more Americans aged at least 65 years by the year 2035. This growing aging population has had a direct impact on the field of neurosurgery. Today, there’s a general shortage of neurosurgeons managing the broad range of neurological conditions.

With more neurologists being 55 years and older, there’s an emerging concern about the future of the field. The job outlook in the field of neurosurgery will experience a projected growth of around 14% over the next ten years. This trend indicates new opportunities for younger neurosurgeons to venture into the sector in the future.

7. Neurosurgery Is More an Art Than a Science

While neurosurgery involves a lot of knowledge acquisition, theoretically, it’s more an art than a science. Most neurosurgical procedures require significant physical input. Neurosurgeons often engage in the subjective representation of knowledge when undertaking procedures.

The idea of art, as opposed to science, means that, at times neurosurgeons, need to make educated guesswork. Most times, neurosurgeons end up doing what they deem best in a given medical situation. This is as opposed to depending on clinical trials to undertake specific procedures.

8. Neurosurgery Procedures Are Pricey

While neurosurgical conditions are common, they also tend to be expensive. Undergoing a neurosurgical procedure can cost a patient an arm and a leg. Nonetheless, prices should never be an obstacle when seeking these important services.

Different factors have a direct implication on the neuro-spinal treatment process. The location of the practice can make neurosurgery procedures cheaper or more expensive. Practices that are closer to the affluent settings tend to charge more for the surgery procedures.

The cost of a neurosurgery procedure may also be lower depending on your insurance coverage when seeking such services.

Engagement in minimally invasive surgery is the other factor that determines the cost of the procedure. Further, you might end up spending more if the specialist uses advanced technology.

Stay on the Know With These Facts about Neurosurgery

The number of people in need of spine and brain surgery continues to grow. However, the number of neurosurgeons capable of handling such issues is rather low.

Are you wondering what facts about neurosurgery you need to know before hiring a neurosurgeon? These eight pointers can help you understand the field of neurosurgery better.

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