The American Board of Neurological Surgery has provided the following description of the scope of neurosurgeons.
A discipline of medicine and that specialty of surgery which provides the operative and nonoperative management (i.e. prevention, diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, critical care, and rehabilitation) of disorders of the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems, including their supporting structures and vascular supply; the evaluation and treatment of pathological processes which modify the function or activity of the nervous system, including the hypohysis; and the operative and nonoperative management of pain. As such, neurological surgery encompasses treatment of adult and pediatric patients with disorders of the nervous system; disorders of the brain, meninges, and skull, and their blood supply, including the extracranial carotid and vertebral arteries; disorders of the pituitary gland; disorders of the spinal cord, meninges, and vertebral column, including those which may require treatment by spinal fusion or instrumentation; and disorders of the cranial and spinal nerves throughout their distribution.
The broad aim of the American Board of Neurological Surgery is to encourage the study, improve the practice, elevate the standards, and advance the science of neurological surgery, and thereby to serve the cause of public health.