Frequently Asked Neurosurgery Questions

Here are answers to some of the more commonly asked questions about Neurosurgery.

What is neurosurgery?

Neurosurgery is the surgical care of the brain and spinal cord. This includes many diseases and injuries of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and cerebral vasculature such as:

  • Cerebral hemorrhages
  • Cerebrovascular conditions including aneurysms and vascular malformations
  • Brain and spinal cord tumors
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal surgeries including laminectomies and fusions
Who is a neurosurgeon?

A neurosurgeon is a physician who has had medical and surgical education and training focused on the nervous system. The educational requirements including 4 years of college and 4 years of medical school, a one-year general surgical internship, and 6 to 8 years as a neurosurgical resident. The resident spends time in research, basic sciences, neurology, neuroradiology, neuropathology and neurosurgery.

At the completion of residency, the neurosurgeon may choose to do additional fellowships which entail additional training in a specific neurosurgical area before moving forward to practice independently.

A neurosurgeon:

  • diagnoses and treats surgical disorders or injuries of the nervous system
  • performs a detailed examination of the neurological structure of the body
  • performs surgery on the brain, spinal cord, and nerves

Our neurosurgeons treat the following disorders:

  • Brain Tumors and Cysts
  • Brain Hemorrhage (Bleed)
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Chiari Malformation
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Degenerative Disc Disease of the Spine
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Herniated Discs
  • Spinal Tumors
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
Who sees a neurosurgeon?

You may need to see a neurosurgeon if you have findings on radiological imaging or symptoms that involve the nervous system (brain, spine, or peripheral nerves). Often you have been evaluated by another healthcare provider that recommended you see a neurosurgeon to help determine if your neurological symptoms require surgery. 

Once certain tests and exams have been completed, you will be referred to a neurosurgeon who will work with you and your referring healthcare provider to determine the plan of care, any further tests that may be needed, and if necessary, discuss surgery.

How do I get referred to see a neurosurgeon?

Typically a patient is referred to our care by another healthcare provider, this could be your primary care physician or another specialist.

Do your neurosurgeons practice at any other locations?

Our neurosurgeons are based at Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora, Illinois. However, they also perform surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. If surgery is needed, you may discuss your preference with your neurosurgeon to determine where you will have your surgery.

Where are neurosurgical patients cared for?

Neuroscience patients are cared for in both the inpatient and outpatient settings.

Inpatient settings include:

  • Emergency department
  • Critical care (Intensive Care Unit and Intermediate Care Area)
  • General stroke / neuroscience unit
  • Acute rehabilitation

Outpatient settings include:

  • Outpatient therapies
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Neuroscience specialty clinics
  • Support groups
Who is part of the neuroscience team?

The neuroscience patient requires a multidisciplinary team approach to ensure all aspects of your care are met. The team is comprehensive yet not every patient will need to see all team members. The neuroscience team may include, but is not limited to:

  • Primary care physician
  • Neurologist - physician for neuroscience patients that focus on medical side of treatment
  • Physical Medicine physicians
  • Advance Practice Registered Nurses and Physician Assistants specially trained in neuroscience
  • Registered nurses
  • Case management
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Speech therapists
  • Neurodiagnostic technicians
  • Neuropsychologists
What services do Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Physician Assistants provide?

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) are registered nurses who have received advanced training at a master’s/graduate or doctoral level. Additionally, they are certified by one of several national nursing organizations. All APRNs must complete continuing education courses to maintain their specialty certifications. They must also maintain their licensure as a Registered Nurse in order to practice.

Physician Assistants (PAs) are healthcare professionals who have received advanced training at a master’s level. A PA’s education is modeled on the medical school curriculum and includes the same prerequisite coursework taken by physicians. PAs are nationally certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and licensed to practice medicine by their state’s medical board. Like physicians, PAs must complete continuing medical education courses throughout their career. PAs recertify by exam every 10 years and must maintain their state licensure as a PA in order to practice.

Our Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) provide a variety of services for patients with various neurosurgical problems. These include:

  • Obtain patient history and conduct physical exams
  • Develop a patient’s post operative plan of care
  • Assist surgeon during your surgery
  • Order, interpret, and follow up on diagnostic tests and therapies
  • Prescribe medications
  • Provide patient, family, and community education
What do I need to bring to my consultation appointment?

Please bring the following items with you to your consultation appointment:

Do I have to pay for services upfront?

The patient is responsible for paying a co-pay if that is part of their insurance plan. We do bill insurance companies for your initial consultation visit. If the patient is self-pay, payment in due in full at time of service. Rush Copley Neurosurgery offers a 15% discount on physician services if paid at the time of service.

How will I be billed for services?

As a courtesy to our patients, your visit will be billed directly to your insurance company.

What is the cost of my office visit or surgery?

Cost will depend on the specific service that is rendered. This can be discussed at the time of scheduling your appointment or prior to surgery.

Is there a fee for cancelling or missing my appointment?

With efforts to get new patients seen and avoiding long wait times, we do request at least 24-hour notice of canceling appointments. A charge may be incurred for missed scheduled appointments if a 24-hour notice is not given.

If I am scheduled for surgery, am I required to get pre-authorization from my insurance?

Our office will call your insurance company to pre-authorize the procedure and hospitalization. We do encourage patients to call their insurance company to get an idea of what out of pocket cost and/or deductible that they may be responsible for.

If you have an HMO, we request a referral for your surgery from your primary care provider, however, it does remain the patients responsibility to confirm that a referral is prepared prior to your surgery.

Will there be a separate bill for each health care provider I see while I am in the hospital?

Yes, there will be multiple providers that care for you while you are in the hospital. Each provider will bill for their services. Often while in the hospital there will be a primary care provider, anesthesiologist, and surgeon who will bill for services.