Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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Neurosurgery Neurosurgery is a fascinating and quickly evolving field of medicine. Although most people think of neurosurgery as brain surgery, it is a medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the brain, spinal cord and spinal column, and peripheral nerves within all parts of the body. This means that the practice of neurosurgery is a demanding profession that requires tremendous personal and professional commitment. Since the neurosurgeon deals with disorders of the brain, spine, and nervous system, they would first be trained as a general surgeon then they would have specialized training in which they would learn the most innovative techniques in neurosurgery. The road from middle school to becoming a neurosurgeon is long and arduous. First the successful candidate must complete their undergraduate studies, attend four years of medical school, and finally successfully complete at least six years of additional specialized training. Finally, they must pass a difficult oral and written exam.

When these steps have been completed, they will be qualified neurosurgeons.

Although neurological surgery was declared a medical specialty in 1919, neurosurgery began in the early stages of man's evolution. "Skulls of early man show signs of incision through the bone. Some skulls have as many as five openings cut into them. Probably at least some of this ritual was for magical purposes and some was medicinal, performed to release the spirits that were causing excruciating headaches or making an individual show signs of insanity, or to remove bone fragments resulting from trauma. This process is called trephination (less commonly, trepanation) and was a common procedure as early as the Neolithic period." (Gale Encyclopedia of Science, 2486) It is commonly believed that this procedure was practiced worldwide among unrelated tribes.

As unimaginable as it seems now, "Trephining was done with a sharpened flint moved...