Neurosurgery is one of the most complex and demanding specialties that a surgeon can elect to pursue. The brain affects everything about the life and livelihood of a patient, so any problems that arise within the brain can be extremely delicate to fix. If you are a student wondering where you should go to study this challenging discipline, there are a number of schools you should consider.

What Is Neurosurgery?

Neurosurgery, loosely defined, is any kind of surgery that is performed on the brain, head, spine, spinal cord and nerves. These areas of the body are both extremely delicate and extremely important for the healthy functioning of the human being. Neurosurgeons often diagnose and correct problems with the brain and related organs, using a variety of materials, equipment and diagnostic tools.

Some conditions that are treated or improved by the care of a brain surgeon include stroke, head trauma, brain cancer, degenerative spinal diseases and abnormalities of a congenital nature. There are certain neurosurgeons who have a particular specialty within their discipline. These areas of specialization are endovascular surgery, oncology and spinal reconstruction surgery.

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How Do You Become a Neurosurgeon?

As you may have guessed, neurosurgeons are among the most highly trained surgeons in the medical field. Becoming a surgeon of any kind takes years of education, training and experience, but being a neurosurgeon is even more demanding. As with any career as a physician, there is the requirement of an M.D. degree. This is generally earned after completing a Bachelor of Science degree which typically takes between three and four years.

After graduation, a student continues their post-college education with four years of medical school, two of which are spent in a hospital working with patients. You will be trained in a number of areas, and engage in both laboratory science and practical studies in a hospital environment. You will take courses in specialized areas of medicine and surgery which include pediatrics, psychiatry, neonatal care and other disciplines. From there, you will select neurosurgery as your field of specialization.

After completing medical school, there are seven to eight years of residency in the field of neurosurgery. Your first year of residency will involve general surgery. The following two years are more of a specialized period of training where you will learn to do neurosurgery, neuroradiology and neuropathology. During years four and five of your residency, you will have the option to pursue laboratory studies or to super-specialize in a subfield of your discipline.

What Is the Best Neurosurgery School?

Almost all students want to know what the best neurosurgery school is. While it can be challenging to look at the top schools in the field as goals for yourself, by attending them you know that you're likely to get the very best education possible. Looking at the rankings of a neurosurgery school is a great way to learn about what makes programs stronger than others and can also help you find out what is the best college for neurosurgery in the world.

Many people ask about UAG or the University of Guadalajara. While the UAG medical school acceptance rate is competitive, it is nowhere near as competitive as some of the more reputable neurosurgery schools in the world. Harvard University in Cambridge is widely considered to be the best college for neurosurgery in the world. It is followed in this ranking by the University of Oxford.

In the third place ranking for best neurosurgery school is the University of Cambridge, also in the U.K. These programs are highly rated for their years of experience, their high quality of instructors and their state of the art facilities. If you are serious about becoming a neurosurgeon, you should do your best to attend these top of the line institutions.

About the Author

Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience writing about education for a variety of organizations and educational institutions as well as online media sites. She has written for Pearson Education, The University of Miami, The New York City Teaching Fellows, New Visions for Public Schools, and a number of independent secondary schools. She lives in Los Angeles.