Health Service Categories and Careers


Neurosurgery is surgery of the nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal column, meninges, nerves and pituitary gland. Conditions treated with neurosurgery include: spinal cord trauma, head trauma or trauma to the peripheral nerves; intracerebral, interdepartmental, and intracellular haemorrhages; meningitis and other central nervous system infections, tumours, spinal disc herniation, cervical or lumbar spinal stenosis, hydrocephalus, cranial/peripheral nerve pain, advanced Parkinson's disease, vascular malformations, and certain types of chronic pain disorders, among others. Neurosurgery manages neurological conditions which may be traumatic, neoplastic, infective, congenital or degenerative conditions.

Neurosurgical procedures include microsurgery, minimally invasive endoscopic surgery, endovascular surgery, conventional surgery which often uses image guidance technologies, ventricular-peritoneal shunt insertion, surgery of the peripheral nervous system, spine surgery such as discectomy, and surgery for chronic pain and pain management. Post-operative care is a critical part of neurosurgery, and specialists in this area are mindful of pain following brain surgery, which can be significant, and other issues which affect recovery time, lengthen hospital stays and increase the risk of complications.

Neurosurgery Jobs

Neurosurgeons provide diagnosis, management, treatment, prevention and postoperative care to their patients suffering from neurological conditions, which may be the result of trauma and injury, or acquired or congenital. Neurologists provide specialist surgical services in emergency and critical care departments, and in outpatient clinics and surgeries in both public and private hospitals. They perform a range of surgical procedures which use a variety of techniques and technologies. These may be minimally invasive or invasive, and include endovascular coiling, aneurysm clipping, craniotomy, brain tumour excision, shunt procedures, among many others. Neurologists have extensive training and expertise and are frequently contacted by other specialists for consultation. They provide patient care independently and in multi-disciplinary teams, collaborating with other surgeons, such as maxillofacial and plastic surgeons or ENT surgeons, as well as with neurologists, neuropathologists, neuro-oncologists, neuro-radiologists, anaesthetists, and nursing and support staff. To become a Neurosurgeon, doctors complete the RACS Royal Australasian College of Surgeons training program which leads to Fellowship and Specialist registration with AHPRA. The RACS Training Program in Neurosurgery is split into 3 levels including Basic Neurosurgical Training (1 to 2 years), Intermediate Neurosurgical Training (3 to 4 years) and Advanced Neurosurgical Training (1 to 3 years). Each level of the training has multiple requirements and competitive selection process. Specialist surgeons are responsible for providing clinical oversight and leadership, training of registrars and junior medical staff, and contributions to research and development.

Registrars (General and Surgical Specialty - Neurosurgery) are registered doctors who have completed their medical degree and pre-vocational training (internship and residency/PGY2-3). They have attained general registration with AHPRA and can now undertake specialist/or vocational training positions to broaden and refine their scope of practice and gain experience, skills and competency in their chosen area of medicine. Registrars are very important members of the integrated and multi-disciplinary health care team. They have increasing responsibility for patient care, oversee and support junior doctors and staff, participate in professional development activities and continue to receive important guidance, training, and support from senior staff. They work in a range of primary, secondary, tertiary, clinical, laboratory and acute care settings, in hospitals, private practices and community clinics. Registrars who want to pursue a career in a surgical specialty, can undertake advanced training with RACS. Surgical registrars work under specialist surgeon consultants and develop procedural skills, surgical techniques, clinical expertise, and valuable work experience in providing medical care, and surgical and non-surgical management of patients with conditions relating to their surgical specialty.