Neurosurgery is the specialty of surgery that provides operative and non-operative management (i.e. critical care, prevention, diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation) of disorders of the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems, including their supporting structures and vascular supply; the evaluation and treatment of pathological processes that modify the function or activity of the nervous system, including the hypophysis; and the operative and non-operative management of pain.
As such, neurological surgery encompasses treatment of adult and pediatric patients with disorders of the nervous system:
- Disorders of the brain, meninges, and skull, and their blood supply
(includes the extracranial carotid and vertebral column; and those that may require treatment by spinal fusion or instrumentation);
- Disorders of the cranial and spinal nerves throughout their distribution
For a satisfactory neurosurgery outcome a reasonable pre-operative diagnosis is essential. Neuroradiology plays a key role not only in diagnosis but also in the operative phase of neurosurgery. Neuroradiology methods are used in modern neurosurgery diagnosis and treatment. They include:
- Computer assisted imaging computed tomography (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Positron emission tomography (PET)
- Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
- Stereotactic radiosurgery.
Some neurosurgery procedures involve the use of intra-operative MRI and functional MRI.