Dispur Polyclinic and Hospitals Pvt. Ltd.

Help Line - (+91) 8822669275, (+91) 7664011111

Neurosurgeon Vs Neurologist Whats the Difference

Neurosurgeon Vs Neurologist: What’s the Difference

It is common for people to have misconceptions about Neurosurgeon vs neurologist differences. Simply put neurosurgeons and neurologists are doctors who specialise in treating brain, spine, and nervous system issues. Although their fields of expertise often overlap, they have distinct areas of focus.

Therefore, when it is the question of the brain and nervous system they have a crucial role to play. Consequently, when you’re dealing with chronic headaches, spinal issues, or complex neurological disorders, knowing the right specialist to approach is important.

Moreover, neurologists and neurosurgeons are needed for a wide variety of reasons. In this article, we shall explore the differences between the two professions and why both are so important. Read along to analyse the key differences between neurosurgeons and neurologists, helping you understand who to consult for your needs. 

Neurosurgeon vs Neurologist

Who is a Neurosurgeon?

A neurosurgeon is a medical doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system. This includes congenital anomalies, trauma, tumours, vascular disorders, infections of the brain or spine, stroke, or degenerative diseases of the spine. They are experts in the human nervous system and help rehabilitate people suffering from neurological conditions.

Who is a Neurologist?

Medical professionals who diagnose and treat problems related to the nervous system are called neurologists. Also, problems may range from movement disorders, and sleep disorders to severe types of headaches, meningitis, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis among others.

Differences Between Neurosurgeons and Neurologists

To explain this in simple words, we can say that neurosurgeons deal with surgical problems related to the brain and spine, however,  neurologists have more to do with nonsurgical, degenerative problems related to neurological problems. Moreover, both neurosurgeons and neurologists are doctors for your nervous system (brain, spine, nerves). Also, they share some territory, but their main approaches differ. 

On the one hand, Neurologists use medicine and other treatments to manage conditions like strokes and seizures. Whereas, Neurosurgeons are the operating doctors for your nervous system. They perform surgery for brain tumours, injuries, and other problems. However, in some cases, there can be some overlap, though. In Parkinson’s cases, for instance, surgery might be an option. Sometimes, you might need to see both a neurologist and a neurosurgeon. The primary distinction between Neurologist vs. Neurosurgeon: 

  • Neurologists do not perform surgery. Moreover, neurologists focus on finding complex neurological diagnoses that can be treated with other medications or need close monitoring. However, if your diagnosis reveals a physical cause for your neurological illness, your neurologist will refer you to a neurosurgeon.
  • After initial screenings, the neurologist may refer you to a neurosurgeon if something necessitates surgery, such as a tumour.
  • Moreover, the specialities are complementary. Also, when treating a condition, a neurologist will recommend that the patient see a neurosurgeon for surgery. Further, the neurologist handles the long-term treatment.
  • Although neurologists and neurosurgeons can perform complex neurological tests such as EEG and MRI. However, only neurosurgeons are qualified to use the findings to perform surgery to cure the condition. 
  • Also, neurologists can only administer drugs. 
  • A neurologist requires four years of pre-medical school to become a neurologist, followed by a medical degree in neurology and additional training in movement, stroke, etc.
  • However, a neurosurgeon requires four years of pre-medical school four years of medical school and extended house residency. Moreover, Neurosurgeons must learn how to operate on the spine and peripheral nerves, among other things.
  • Neurologists treat neurological conditions such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, peripheral nerve disorders, and ALS.
  • However, neurosurgeons deal with brain injuries, tumour removal, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

When do patients visit a neurologist vs a neurosurgeon?

It is common for patients to see a neurosurgeon for surgery, followed by regular visits to a neurologist for further treatment. Also, in some cases, neurologists and neurosurgeons collaborate to offer complete and effective treatment to patients.

When Do Patients Visit a Neurologist?

Patients visit neurologists when they need treatment for issues of the mind, spinal string, and sensory system, including:

  • Cerebral pains: Issues like migraines, including headaches, bunch migraines, and pressure migraines are analysed and treated by neurologists.
  • Seizures: When patients need to get analysed and treated for seizures
  • Stroke: When patients need treatment for strokes.
  • Dementia: Dementia patients seek neurologists for treatment of mind issues that cause cognitive decline and other mental issues.
  • Parkinson’s illness: Patients suffering from Parkinson’s sickness that causes quakes, solidness, and sluggish development.
  • Different sclerosis: Sclerosis patients which is an immune system sickness that influences the focal sensory system.
  • Epilepsy: Patients who have epilepsy need treatment and seek neurological help. 
  • Guillain-Barré condition: An immune system problem which needs Neurologists for treatment
  • Ongoing agony: Many patients seek help from Neurologists to treat constant torment for over 12 weeks.

When Do Patients Visit a Neurosurgeon?

  • Brain tumours: Patients need the services of Neurosurgeons to remove brain tumours.
  • Aneurysms: When patients have bulges in blood vessels that may lead to strokes or ruptures, they need a Neurosurgeon to clip aneurysms.
  • Stroke: For treatment of strokes by removing blood clots or by performing surgery to improve blood flow to the brain.
  • Spinal cord injuries: For treating spinal cord injuries by stabilising the spine and repairing damaged nerves.
  • Degenerative spine disorders: Treat degenerative spine disorders, such as herniated discs and spinal stenosis with surgery. 
  • Parkinson’s disease: To implant deep brain stimulators to help control the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Epilepsy: To remove brain tissue that is causing seizures in some people with epilepsy.
  • Hydrocephalus: To insert shunts to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid from the brain in people with hydrocephalus.
  • Craniofacial disorders: For surgery to correct craniofacial disorders, such as cleft lip and palate.

Neurosurgeons also treat a variety of other neurological disorders:

  • Brain aneurysms: Abnormal bulges in blood vessels in the brain.
  • Cerebral palsy: A group of disorders that affect movement and coordination.
  • Chiari malformation: When the brain tissue at the base of the skull is pushed down into the spinal canal.
  • Dural arteriovenous fistula: When an abnormal connection between an artery and a vein in the dura mater occurs.
  • Epilepsy: To treat seizures.
  • Multiple sclerosis: For treating chronic disease that affects the central nervous system.
  • Spinal cord tumours: To remove abnormal growths in the spinal cord.
  • Trigeminal neuralgia: To treat severe types of facial pain.

Treatment Approaches of a Neurologist vs a Neurosurgeon


  • Treatment approach: Neurologists treat neurological problems with various strategies. These may include drugs, exercise-based recuperation, and way-of-life changes. Moreover, they utilise insignificantly intrusive methodology, like electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS), to analyse and treat neurological issues.
  • Diseases: Neurologists study and treat neurological problems, including migraines, seizures, stroke, dementia, Parkinson’s sickness, different sclerosis, and epilepsy.


  • Treatment approach: Neurosurgeons utilise various medical procedures to treat neurological problems. Therefore, they utilise endoscopy and stereotactic radiosurgery, to treat neurological problems.
  • Scope: Neurosurgeons have a smaller scope of treating neurological problems than nervous system specialists. Moreover, they treat issues that require a medical procedure, including mind cancers, aneurysms, spinal string wounds, and degenerative spine problems.

Criteria to choose between a neurosurgeon and a neurologist

When it comes to choosing between a neurosurgeon and a neurologist, it depends on the specific nature of your condition. Therefore, consider the following factors:

Referrals: You will be given a referral by your primary care physician based on their assessment of your symptoms and medical history. Consider their recommendations carefully.

Diagnosis: After a proper diagnosis of your condition, if surgery is required, a neurosurgeon may be the appropriate specialist. However, if surgery is not indicated consulting a neurologist may be more suitable.

Complexity of the Condition: Sometimes patients may require the expertise of both a neurosurgeon and a neurologist.

Communication and Collaboration: Also, choose specialists who communicate effectively and are willing to collaborate for coordinated care and benefits.

Neurosurgeons and Neurologists Collaborate in the following scenarios

In complex neurological cases, neurosurgeons and neurologists can combine their expertise to provide comprehensive care for patients. 

  • Brain Tumours: Neurologists do the initial diagnosis and ongoing management of brain tumours. Further, they collaborate with neurosurgeons to perform the surgical removal of the tumour. This collaboration ensures optimal care.
  • Epilepsy: Neurologists primarily help in diagnosing and managing epilepsy. If required, neurosurgeons may be involved in cases where surgery is indicated.  Therefore, both specialities work together for the best outcomes.
  • Stroke: Neurologists can quickly assess the type and severity of the stroke and determine the most appropriate interventions. Consequently, Neurosurgeons may be consulted if surgical intervention, such as clot removal, is necessary.

Therefore, working in collaboration, neurosurgeons and neurologists can combine their expertise to provide comprehensive care for patients with complex neurological conditions. Consequently, the specialist can collaborate to enhance patient outcomes and ensure that individuals receive the most appropriate and effective treatments available.


Neurologists and neurosurgeons are vital in treating neurological disorders. Each brings unique expertise to patient care. Neurologists focus on non-surgical treatments and long-term management. Neurosurgeons specialise in surgical interventions. Understanding these differences helps patients seek appropriate care for their specific needs.

Dispur Poly Clinic and Hospitals leads in comprehensive neurological care in Guwahati. Our expert team includes both neurologists and neurosurgeons. We offer personalised treatment plans using state-of-the-art facilities. From diagnosis to management or surgery, we address a wide range of neurological issues.

Your neurological health is our priority. We’re here to guide you through every step. Don’t let neurological concerns affect your life. Take action today. Contact Dispur Poly Clinic and Hospitals at +91-8822669275. Or book your appointment online. Our neuro specialists are ready to help you towards better health and well-being.

Leave feedback about this

  • Rating
dispur polyclinic logo

Book a free consultation Now !

Our Helpline no's

(+91) 8822669275
(+91) 7664011111
(+91) 7670007615



dispur polyclinic logo

Book a free consultation Now !

Our Helpline no's

(+91) 8822669275
(+91) 7664011111
(+91) 7670007615