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Neurosurgeons specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the central nervous system, particularly in the brain and the spine, using different surgical procedures and through the prescription of certain medications.
As with all medical professionals, the primary responsibility is to identify, diagnose and treat problems experienced by patients through a variety of examinations, tests, medical procedures and prescription of medication. It is also their job to ensure that the patient is fully aware of courses of treatment and procedures available to them so that they can play a role in, and have some control over, the care they receive.
Sometimes neurosurgeons will specialise further in a certain area, such as the removal of tumours, trauma and head injuries, or problems affecting the spinal cord exclusively.
They work closely with professionals whose expertise lie in disorders of the brain and the nervous system, such as psychiatrists, therapists and other surgeons. They will almost always be working as part of a team.
Many neurosurgeons will work very long shifts – up to 60 hours a week – with much time spent in surgery. Surgeons working on-call will also work particularly unsociable and irregular hours.