The Complete Guide to Choosing a Neurosurgeon: Everything to Know

About 30 to 40 million Americans a year suffer from chronic pain that does not respond to minimally invasive treatment plans like medication. This pain can affect you to the point that you can’t work or enjoy your life. Neurosurgeons can help treat chronic pain with their state-of-the-art medical technology.

But with over 45,000 active surgeons practicing in the United States, choosing a neurosurgeon can be difficult. Since neurosurgery can be considered a life-altering surgery, you need to be careful with your pick.

Below is a guide that explains everything to know when choosing a neurosurgeon for your chronic pain treatments.

Look for References and Reviews

Choosing a neurosurgeon can start with the referral list from your primary care doctor. When their conservative approach to treating your neck and back pain or spinal disorders fails, they can direct you to a neurosurgeon they trust. You can also get recommendations from asking family, friends, and other healthcare.

To narrow down your referral list, you can call each neurosurgeon’s office and book an appointment to meet and interview the neurosurgeon.

Reading what other patients have to say about the neurosurgeon can also provide insight into their medical practice. You can take a look at their website to learn about their staff friendliness, wait times, level of care, office environment, and more.

To get more unbiased reviews of a neurosurgeon’s performance, you can take a look at Facebook, Google Plus, or Yelp.

Research the Neurosurgeon’s Credentials

When looking for a neurosurgeon, you should check the board certification. It’ll inform you whether your neurosurgeon has the right training and skills to offer neurological surgery. Your neurosurgeon should have completed no less than four years of undergraduate studies, four years of medical school, and five to seven years of fellowship training.

Since neurosurgery has the highest risk for malpractice claims, you should also check the neurosurgeon’s history of misconduct or disciplinary actions. But claim settlements occur for various reasons, so you should use them to start a discussion with the neurosurgeon about their capabilities before making your decision.

Consider Their Experience with Neurosurgery

The experience of your neurosurgeon matters, especially since they have to conduct surgery on your brain, spine, and other parts of your nervous system. The more experience a neurosurgeon has with a surgical procedure, the better your results may be.

This is why you should consider neurosurgeons who have obtained board certification through the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS).

Ask about the Neurosurgeon’s Subspecialties

Your brain and nervous system are so vast and diverse. This is why neurosurgeons tend to limit the scope of their practice to a specific part of your nervous system. If you need a specific procedure, you should look for a neurosurgeon that has experience in that area.

Whether you need pediatric, neurovascular, or spinal neurosurgery, you look into the neurosurgical subspecialties you need when picking a neurosurgeon.

Look into the Neurosurgeon’s Hospital Quality

Your neurosurgeon’s hospital can help you determine their quality of care. If the hospital is top-rated, you may experience fewer complications during surgery and better survival rates. You should check if the hospital uses state-of-the-art tools, professionalism, patient support, and more.

What’s more, consider the hospital’s location. You can take into consideration how often you and your loved ones will have to make trips to the hospital.

Evaluate Their Communication Style

Getting the proper information about the nature of your medical is important, and working with a neurosurgeon with poor communication skills can often lead to medical malpractice. This is why you need a neurosurgeon that is present, empathetic, and you’re comfortable talking to.

When you first visit the neurosurgeon, you should ask questions and notice how they respond. Pay attention to how they explain the complex medical jargon, so you can understand. It helps you make critical decisions concerning your surgery. Apart from their explanations, your neurosurgeon should also know how to listen effectively.

It ensures that they won’t miss any crucial information about your health.

When Do You Need to Visit a Neurosurgeon?

Your nervous system is a very sensitive part of your body. Seeing a neurosurgeon can help you keep it in balance when you have any problems. You should visit your neurosurgeon when you have any of the symptoms below:

Abnormal Headaches or Migraines

Frequent and severe headaches can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. They often last from hours, and even days. During these times, you may feel nauseous and become sensitive to light, sound, or smells.

To get the right diagnosis or treatment, you should see a neurosurgeon to help you find the triggers of your migraines and stop them.

Dizziness or Balance Issues

From time to time, you may feel lightheaded. But if it occurs often, it isn’t a good sign. If you feel dizzy frequently, lose your balance, or even fall, it may be time to find a neurosurgeon.

Chronic Pain

In case you experience sharp, burning pain that doesn’t go away, your nervous system may be damaged.

Common pain medicine may not offer relief. Whether the pain is due to brain injury or spinal disorders like a synovial cyst, a neurosurgeon can help you get the right treatment.


Experiencing extreme and persistent numbness is a sign of sensory nerve damage. Found under your skin and in your muscles, sensory nerves help carry information back to the brain. When the nerves fail to do so, you may feel numb.


Disturbances in your central nervous system can cause seizures. When you have a seizure, you may experience uncontrolled movements, strange sensations, or even loss of consciousness. To help treat your epilepsy, a neurosurgeon can perform several surgical procedures to reduce or stop the seizures.

Choosing a Neurosurgeon for Comprehensive Care

Suffering from chronic pain? Looking for a neurosurgeon to help?

When choosing a neurosurgeon, you should settle for one that inspires confidence in you. It will most likely increase the chances of success. If you don’t feel comfortable with the neurosurgeon in question, you should explore other options until you make the right choice.

Read our blog posts to learn more.

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