What is the Difference Between Neurology and Neurosurgery?

What is the Difference Between Neurology and Neurosurgery? You’ve likely heard of neurology and neurosurgery, and you might be aware that they deal with problems that affect the brain and nervous system. But, do you understand the differences between these two medical disciplines? If not, here’s a brief overview of each.


Neurology is the branch of medicine that focuses on the function, anatomy and disorders that originate in the body’s nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord and the nerves that branch out from these structures. A neurologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing, treating and providing long-term management for these neurological disorders. Some of the most common problems that neurologists address include:

  • Migraines
  • Nerve pain
  • Epilepsy
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Concussions
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dizziness and balance disorders

Neurologists provide routine care and management to patients with nervous system disorders using non-surgical approaches, such as medications, electrical stimulation treatment and other therapies. They do not perform surgery.


Neurosurgery is the medical discipline that deals with the surgical treatment and rehabilitation of disorders that impact any component of the nervous system. As you may have gathered, neurosurgeons specialize in performing neurological and spine surgery. Neurosurgeons may be relied on to address issues like:

  • Neck or back pain resulting from spinal nerve compression
  • Herniated or bulging discs
  • Benign or cancerous brain and spinal tumors
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Cerebrovascular disorders, such as intracerebral hemorrhages
  • Brain aneurisms

Neurosurgeons may also provide non-surgical treatment and facilitate a patient’s recovery. Thanks to their wide-ranging expertise, neurosurgeons are often relied upon by primary care physicians, emergency room physicians and neurologists to treat patients with complex health concerns.

The bottom line? Neurology and neurosurgery overlap, and neurologists and neurosurgeons both have an in-depth understanding of the nervous system and its functions. However, neurologists focus more on the management or correction of chronic conditions that do not require surgery, while neurosurgeons treat issues that require surgical intervention and may care for patients with more complex neurological conditions.

Specialized Neurological Care, Close to Home

Tufts Medical Center Community Care is pleased to provide a full spectrum of specialized neurological care to individuals throughout north suburban Boston. Our multispecialty medical group is a clinical partner of Tufts Medical Center and includes both neurologists and neurosurgeons who leverage the latest advancements in treatment, such as robotic-assisted surgical technology that minimizes incisions and helps streamline the recovery process for patients. Furthermore, we are proud to make this level of specialized care easily accessible to local families at multiple convenient locations with better-than-average appointment availability.

To learn more about our referral process or approach to neurological care, contact Tufts Medical Center Community Care today. Our professionals can answer any questions you may have about our physicians or accepted insurances. We look forward to helping you achieve your best health.

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