Neurology & Neurological Surgery – Specialty and Sub-Specialty Information

April 4, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Neurology & Neurological Surgery – Specialty & Sub-Specialty Information

Mentors performing a C-section in Tanzania Neurology

Neurology deals with the treatment of impaired function or disease of the brain, spinal cord, autonomic nervous system, muscles and peripheral nerves as well as the blood vessels that relate to these structures. Physicians who specialise in neurology treat patients who have a variety of disorders ranging from strokes, headaches, multiple sclerosis, learning disorders, seizure disorders, peripheral nerve disease, muscular dystrophy and dystonia to traumatic injuries to the nervous system, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease. Neurologists may also undergo advanced training in neurological rehabilitation. The majority of neurological problems are characterized by pain and can be chronic, debilitating, and complex, making them difficult to manage and treat. A large portion of the neurology practice is consultative, but a neurologist may also be the primary physician. This specialty has close links with psychiatry, with which it maintains a combined certification board.

Subspecialties of Neurology

Neuromuscular Medicine

Child Neurology

Clinical Neurophysiology

Pain Medicine

Endovascular Surgical Neuroradiology

Neuromuscular Medicine – Neuromuscular Medicine is a sub-specialty of neurology, physical medicine and rehabilitation. It deals with abnormalities of the motor neuron, peripheral nerves, nerve roots, muscle and neuromuscular junction, including disorders that affect adults and children. Neuromuscular Medicine specialists possess detailed knowledge in the pathology, diagnosis and treatment of these disorders at a level that is considerably beyond the training and knowledge expected of a general neurologist, physiatrist or paediatric neurologist.

Child Neurology – Child neurologist or paediatric neurologists specialise in diagnosing and managing neurologic conditions starting from the neonatal period to infancy, early childhood, and adolescence. Child neurologists have special competence in genetic and metabolic problems, malformations and developmental problems of childhood, which could include autism, muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, Tourette’s syndrome, learning disabilities, complex metabolic disorders, Batten’s disease, neurofibromatosis, and other nerve and muscle diseases. Child neurologists act as consultants to primary care physicians and also provide continuing care for chronic neurological conditions. Like other paediatric specialties, it is a specialty that requires the ability to work with patients who may have limited or nonexistent verbal skills.

Clinical Neurophysiology – A clinical neurophysiologist is a neurologist or psychiatrist who specialises in diagnosing and managing central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous system disorders using a combination of clinical evaluation and electrophysiological testing. This could include nerve conduction studies (NCS), electroencephalography (EEG) and electromyography (EMG) among others.

Neurological Surgery

A neurological surgeon provides the operative and non-operative management of disorders of the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems. This would include diagnosis, prevention, evaluation, treatment, rehabilitation and critical care of patients suffering from disorders of the brain and its blood supply and disorders of the nervous system, pituitary gland, cranial and spinal nerves, spinal cord and vertebral column including those disorders which may require treatment by spinal fusion or instrumentation. Neurosurgeons diagnose problems through physical examination using highly specialised tools such as magnetic resonance imaging and cranial taxonomy scans. Neurosurgery requires manual dexterity and intense concentration when dealing with delicate parts of the nervous system. Not only must neurosurgeons be skilled surgeons, but many of them divide their time between the research lab and operating room.

Subspecialties of Neurological Surgery include;