Difference Between Neurologist and Neurosurgeon

You are troubled by recurring headaches and cannot understand the root cause. You go to your health care provider who is a general physician. He prescribes medications that provide temporary relief but headaches return to give you more trouble. This time, your physician refers you to a neurologist who performs some tests and gets you checked or diagnosed for certain ailments. If he comes up with a decision that you need surgery of some kind, he may refer you to a neurosurgeon. Neurosurgeon is the physician who performs the required surgery upon you and you are finally relieved from persistent headaches. But you still cannot make out the differences between a neurologist and a neurosurgeon. For the benefit of people like you, and there are scores like you, this article will explain the difference between a neurologist and a neurosurgeon.

As the name implies, it is a neurosurgeon who is licensed to operate upon a body part of a patient. This requires 6-7 years of training in general surgery and also specialization in a particular body part like brain, spine or skull. All this training is of course after med school, internship, and then specialization in neurology. Neurosurgeons get cases that can be solved or treated with surgery alone.

On the other hand, a neurologist is a physician who has specialized in neurology just like a neurosurgeon but has not undertaken special training in surgical procedures which is why he is not capable of surgery of any kind. However, it is a neurologist who has more expertise in diagnosis and in majority of cases, problems related with nerves and nervous system are treated by neurologists with having to recommend the cases to a neurosurgeon.

Neurosurgeons are required for brain tumors and pinched nerves that cannot be treated without surgery whereas neurologists are required in all other cases of seizures, headaches, tremors, burning, numbness and even Parkinson’s disease.

It is the difference in focus during their training, where a neurologist concentrates more on study of neurology while a neurosurgeon focuses on surgery of different internal organs of body is what makes all the difference in their treatment methods.

Because of the expertise that neurosurgeons have in operating their patients, neurosurgeons earn much more than neurologists on an average. Whereas neurologists earn around $200000 to $300000, neurosurgeons earn around $4000000 per annum in US.

In brief:

Neurologist vs Neurosurgeon

• Neurosurgeons can operate whereas neurologists cannot

• Neurologists are better at diagnosis whereas neurosurgeons are better at surgery

• Neurosurgeons spend 5-6 extra years in training in surgery including surgery of a particular body part

• Neurosurgeons are needed in case of brain tumors or pinched nerves.