Neurosurgeons operate on ­problems ­relating to the brain and spine. The brain is operated upon for tumours, head injuries, brain ­haemorrhage, brain bypass surgery, aneurysm and vascular ­malformation and spinal ­surgery is done for slipped discs, ­dislocations, fractures, tumours, ­vascular malformations and ­congenital deformities. Neurosurgeons also ­perform ­various endoscopic ­surgeries within the ­ventricles or the skull base.
“There are less than 2,200 ­neurosurgeons in the country. There is an increase in the number of patients suffering from ­degenerative diseases of spine and trauma. Therefore, we need many more ­neurosurgeons to provide good ­quality care,” says Dr Vivek Tandon, assistant professor, department of ­neurosurgery, AIIMS, New Delhi.
Students interested in this field should take up biology in Class 12 and then apply for admission to a medical college (entrance through All-India Pre-Medical/­Pre-Dental Entrance Examination, etc). They should follow this up with an MS in general ­neurosurgery and later an MCh in neurosurgery. Training includes long working hours, as one has to deal with lot of emergency cases and perform surgeries. This requires focus as one has to stay alert when on duty for over 24 hours at a stretch.
The ­morbidity and ­mortality rate associated with ­neurosurgical ­procedures is higher when compared to many other ­surgical disciplines. This at times can lead to ­disappointment among young ­people. Therefore, a person who is willing to work in this field must ­possess a ­steadfast and a calm mind. He/she must understand that learning never ends. Aptitude, perseverance, humility and hand-eye coordination for ­microsurgical /endoscopic surgical work are some of the other skills that one needs to have to succeed in this field.
“An aspirant must understand that ­getting a degree is not equivalent to acquiring skills. In the coming years, ­people will be required to focus on ­particular sub-specialities of the field such as neuroendoscopy, ­cerebrovascular surgery, epilepsy or neuro-oncology,” says Tandon.
Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh
All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), New Delhi
National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, (NIMHANS), Bengaluru
Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, (SGPGI) Lucknow
GB Pant, New Delhi
Christian Medical College, Vellore
Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi
King George’s Medical University, Lucknow
Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi