Have you been asked to see a neurosurgeon?
Have you visited your GP and been referred to a neurosurgeon for treatment? Being unwell can be a scary time, especially if you are unsure what is wrong with you or how a neurosurgeon can help. Understanding the role of the neurosurgeon and what they do can help to reassure you at a potentially stressful time.
Neurosurgeon or neurologist?
One of the most common reasons for confusion over the role of the neurosurgeon is that people frequently confuse them with neurologists. A neurologist is a specialist physician who is qualified to treat diseases and conditions of the nervous system or brain, the treatments they use do not involve surgery. By contrast, a neurosurgeon is often known as a brain surgeon, they provide surgical treatment for conditions affecting the nervous system, brain, and spine as well as manage any condition that could restrict blood flow to the brain. A neurosurgeon will generally be a fellow of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons and be entitled to place the initials FRACS after their name.
How can a neurosurgeon help?
You will commonly be referred to a neurosurgeon if you have suffered a stroke or experienced bleeding on your brain. You might also need to see one if you have developed one of a variety of spinal conditions, including a tethered spinal cord, osteoarthritis or a herniated disc. Other medical conditions such as Parkinson's disease, epilepsy or seizures can also sometimes result in a visit to the neurosurgeon.
Where do you find a neurosurgeon?
In most cases, it will be your GP who will refer you to a neurosurgeon, or you will come into contact with one as a part of your care team at a hospital or clinic. If for any reason you need to find a neurosurgeon for yourself, then it is essential that you find a neurosurgeon who has the correct specialties to treat your condition. The Neurosurgical Society of Australasia would be a good place to start your search since they maintain a list of qualified individuals.
What costs are involved?
One of the problems with becoming unwell is that it brings in more bills to pay at the time when you can least afford them. The good news is that if you are treated in a public hospital, then Medicare will cover the costs of the neurosurgeon. If you need to see a neurosurgeon outside of a hospital, then Medicare will cover all bulk billing costs or partial costs if the neurosurgeon doesn't bulk bill.