What training does a neurosurgeon have?
A Neurosurgeon, often referred to as a brain surgeon, is specialist
surgeon who treats conditions and diseases related to the brain, spine
and nervous system.
The undergraduate qualification required to be eligible to apply for
training in neurosurgery in Australia and New Zealand is a recognised
medical degree identified by the Australian Medical Council or the
Medical Council of New Zealand. In Australia and New Zealand this
includes completion of a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
(MBBS or MB ChB) which is usually a six year undergraduate degree.
Once a doctor has an undergradatue qualification which allows them to
practice as a medical practitioner in Australia and New Zealand they
then need to undertake further postgraduate training in neurosurgery
before they can practice as an independent specialist neurosurgeon. The
Australian and New Zealand postgraduate qualification required to
register and practice as an independent specialist neurosurgeon is the
Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) in
Neurosurgery. The Surgical Education and Training Program in
Neurosurgery, delivered by Neurosurgical Society of Australasia as an
agent of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, is the specialist
training program which results in awarding of the FRACS.
Some international medical graduates who do not have the FRACS in
Neurosurgery may also register and practice as an independent specialist
neurosurgeon in Australia and New Zealand. Further information on the
registration of international medical graduates can be found on the
websites of the Medical Board of Australia and the Medical Council of
What procedures are performed by neurosurgeons?
Neurosurgeons perform the full range of procedures on the head, spine
and peripheral nerves. Examples of some of the procedures performed by
- Traumatic heamatomas
- Craionotomies for brain tumours
- Cerebral Aneurysms
- Spinal Disc Arthroplasty
- Spinal Discectomies
- Spinal Tumours
- Laminectomy and Laminoplasty for Canal Stenosis
- Spinal Fusions
- Shunt Procedures
- Tethered Spinal Cord
- Brachial Plexus Exploration
- Carpal Tunnel
- Nerve Repair
What conditions are treated by neurosurgeons?
Examples of some of the conditions treated by neurosurgeons include:
- Head trauma
- Spinal trauma
- Brain tumours
- Spinal tumours and vascular lesions
- Degenerative spine disorders
- Spinal stenosis
- Malignant gliomas
- Benign meningiomas
- Metastatic lesions
- Parkinson's disease
- Peripheral nerve damage
Patient Information Brochures
The Neurosurgical Society of Australasia is currently in the process of developing detailed patient information brochures for neurosurgical procedures. As the brochures are complete a one page summary will be available here. The more detailed versions, are available to surgeons and may be provided by your surgeon during your consultation.
Lumbar Spine Discectomy
Lumbar Spine Laminectomy
Peripheral Nerve Surgery
Additional resources are also available on our publications page
Referrals & advice
Your neurosurgeon is committed to providing you with the best
treatment for your condition. In the first instance, you may need to see
your family doctor to be referred to a neurosurgeon.
Once you see your neurosurgeon, they will be able to provide you with
further information about your diagnosis, treatment alternatives and
the course of care, especially expectations for surgical outcomes. Ask
questions, discuss the risks of the course of treatment including
complications and seek further clarification when you are unsure. It is
important that you share all relevant information with your
The Neurosurgical Society of Australasia is a professional not for
profit organisation established to study and advance the art and science
of neurosurgery and research into the cause, prevention and cure of
diseases in the field of neurosurgery. The Neurosurgical Society of
Australasia cannot provide medical advice, a second opinion or referrals
All Neurosurgical Society of Australasia members who are neurosurgeons
have the option of registering in our online find a surgeon function.
Click here to access our Find a Neurosurgeon function
What are personally controlled electronic health records?
The Australian Government’s personally controlled electronic health (eHealth) record system was launched on 1 July 2012.
ensure your healthcare organisation can view its patients’ eHealth
records, health care organisations need to register to participate in
Australia’s eHealth record system. Once organisation are registered,
individual healthcare professionals and other relevant employees can be
authorised to access the eHealth record system on the organisation’s
Full details can be found at http://www.ehealth.gov.au