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Career Profile of a Brain Surgeon

Job Descriptions November 30, 2012

A brain surgeon conducts surgery to treat disorders in the nervous system following their examination and diagnosis. Students who are aspire to become a brain surgeon; they need to enroll into neurosurgical residency for six to seven years along with a medical school degree. Once students are qualified, they can expect to be one of the highest salary earners in the medical health profession.

Job Responsibilities of a Brain Surgeon

Neurosurgery are performed on the spinal cords, brain and peripheral nerves aimed at removing tumors, giving relief from chronic pain and treating diseases, such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s, vascular disorders and wounds. Neurosurgery affords relief to those suffering from hydrocephalus, a term that describes a condition where cerebrospinal fluid builds up abnormally in the brain.

Ordinarily, brain surgeons focus on correcting deformities and treating diseases relating to the spinal cords, these include scoliosis and degenerative spine disorder. Sub-specialization areas include radio-surgery and pediatric neurosurgery. In radio-surgery, radiation is used in a targeted manner aimed at treating tumors.

Wage Potential of a Brain Surgeon

In 2010, neurosurgeons took home an average annual salary of $575,477, about fifty percent of all neurosurgeons earned wages ranging from $400,000 to $600,000 (source: These figures significantly exceed the average annual salary of $219,770 relating to all surgeons, in 2009 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( Incidentally, medical malpractice insurance relating to brain surgery is relatively expensive that attributed to the concomitant risks associated with brain surgery.

Responsibilities of a Brain Surgeon

Neurosurgeons are required to perform procedures along with coordinating and overseeing the work of several nurses and surgeons who work in teams during surgical operations. Neurosurgeons are responsible for the interpretation diagnostic tests’ results; such tests conducted on patients include PET scans, CT scans, and magnetic resonance imaging. A high level of concentration and hand-eye coordination are required when brain surgeons practice techniques of microsurgery, which involves reliance on an operating microscope during surgery. Neurosurgeons are required to demonstrate sensitivity to the needs of various patients suffering from neural disorders. They are required to attend academic conferences and read medical journals to stay abreast of the latest findings in the field of neurosurgery.

Educational Prerequisites

They are required to earn their doctoral degree that takes eight years to complete and enrolled into a residency training thereafter. Once they have logged six to seven years of residency training, they have completed their eligibility to become a neurosurgeon. In the first year of residency training; neurosurgeons are taught basic clinical skills relating to critical care and trauma. Thereafter, during the next three to six months, they are trained in clinical neurology. The next six years training includes a minimum of forty-two months focused on clinical neurosurgery.

A year of neurology research is often a prerequisite for the training program. In many residency programs, the residents are required to successfully take the exam conducted by the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS). During the last year of the Residency training, residents assume the responsibilities relating to a chief or senior resident. Completion of oral and written exams conducted by the ABNS is a prerequisite for graduates completing accredited neurosurgery programs who aspire to become board-licensed brain surgeons. Submission for review of practice data is mandatory.

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