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A neurological surgeon provides the operative and non-operative management (i.e., prevention, diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, critical care, and rehabilitation) of disorders of the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems, including their supporting structures and vascular supply; the evaluation and treatment of pathological processes which modify function or activity of the nervous system; and the operative and non-operative management of pain. A neurological surgeon treats disorders of the nervous system; disorders of the brain, meninges, skull, and their blood supply, including the extracranial carotid and vertebral arteries; disorders of the pituitary gland; disorders of the spinal cord, meninges, and vertebral column, including those which may require treatment by spinal fusion or instrumentation; and disorders of the cranial and spinal nerves throughout their distribution.

Neurosurgeons diagnose problems through physical examination using tools such as magnetic resonance imaging and cranial taxonomy scans. Some have a special interest in operative and nonoperative pain management. Neurosurgery requires manual dexterity and intense concentration when dealing with delicate parts of the nervous system. Not only must neurosurgeons be skilled surgeons, but many of them divide their time between the research lab and operating room.

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