How Many Hours Does a Brain Surgeon Work?

This article answers the question of how many hours a brain surgeon work. It will also include information on what is neurosurgery, what brain surgeons do, the pros and cons of being a brain surgeon, and other information on them. In the end, the article will answer some frequently asked questions about brain surgeons.

How Many Hours Does a Brain Surgeon Work?

The day of a neurosurgeon usually starts early around 5:30 and 7 am. They work around 50-60 hours a week, sometimes even 80+ hours. This is because they perform multiple procedures every day, some of them may range from simple treatments to complex brain or nervous system surgeries. 

Who are neurosurgeons?

Brain surgeons or neurosurgeons are trained medical doctors who diagnose and treat various conditions affecting the nervous system. This includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. 

They perform surgeries on the nervous system. However, they can also provide non-surgical treatments that include medications, steroids, as well as physical therapies. Usually, these methods are tried and tested before recommending surgery. 

Education Requirements

Educational requirements for neurosurgeons differ from country to country. However, in general, neurosurgeons must finish four years of medical school along with a general surgery internship. 

After this, they enter a neurosurgical residency program that is on average seven years long. 

Here, they are trained in all areas of neurosurgery. This includes trauma, tumour, paediatrics, as well as vascular surgery. When practising, neurosurgeons must be in touch with all the latest surgeries and treatment practices that are emerging at a rapid pace in the medical industry. 

Established neurosurgeons may also take the optional American Board of Neurological Surgery examination once they have gathered several years of practice and experience to receive board certification.

Neurosurgery is considered to be one of the most demanding areas of surgery and thus neurosurgeons earn the highest of all salaries in the medical field.

What are the pros and cons of being a brain surgeon?


You may get satisfaction after performing successful procedures as you’ve helped patients overcome severe problems. 

You get to learn various challenging and intellectually stimulating treatments such as removal of brain tumours, treating damaged brain injuries, and mending of gunshot wounds. 

Being a neurosurgeon gives you an upper edge as you are required to have rigorous education and training. This can limit the competition in the field. Before entering medical school, neurosurgeons have completed an undergraduate degree. This enables them to have a working knowledge of most subjects like chemistry and biology. 


To become a neurosurgeon, you require a lot of effort and time. It can take you about 15 years or longer to become a neurosurgeon. The process usually involves a Pre-med Bachelor’s degree, then four years of medical school, four years of internship, and one year of residency.

Neurosurgeons do not have a standard working shift. Their working hours vary. Working long hours at a stretch is also not new in this profession. This can lead to a lot of fatigue and stress. This can also limit one’s mental abilities. 

As a neurosurgeon, your work schedule will be extremely packed. This can make you sacrifice various personal activities like spending time with your family. 

What is the job profile of brain surgeons?

Neurosurgeons work with patients who have head injuries, brain aneurysms, herniated discs, brain tumours, spine tumours, and any problems with the peripheral nerves. 

Commonly, neurosurgeons perform more spine operations than brain operations, though, in emergencies, operations for head trauma are common. 

Neurosurgeons may also be likely to work as a part of a larger team that provides non-surgical treatment and rehabilitation in the cases of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

According to neurosurgeons, neurosurgery is physical as well as emotional hard work. Everyone aspiring to be a neurosurgeon must have a sense of what they are getting into. The neurosurgical procedures are complex operations that are an hour or two long. Removing invasive brain tumours can take up to 15 hours of hard work.

What conditions do Neurosurgeons Diagnose?

Neurosurgeons diagnose as well as treat conditions that may affect the supporting structures of the nervous system, such as:

  • The skull
  • Spinal vertebrate
  • Spinal disks
  • Blood vessels
  • Soft tissues
  • Protective membranes

The common neurological conditions that a neurosurgeon treats include: brain tumours, carpal tunnel syndrome, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, chronic pain in the back or neck, essential tremor, herniated disks, and hydrocephalus, Neurosurgeons also treat congenital spinal column conditions like spina-bifida as well as the tethered spinal cord. 

Neurosurgeons also have expertise in treating pinched nerves, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, seizures, epilepsy, osteophytes or spinal bone spurs, spinal fractures, spinal stenosis, spinal tumours, spinal deformities including scoliosis and spondylolisthesis, and traumatic head, brain, neck, or spine injuries or damage.

What testing machines are neurosurgeons skilled at operating?

Neurosurgeons are skilled at operating Computed Tomography (CT) scans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans, Magnetoencephalography (MEG), and Electroencephalograms (EEG).

What Industry do Neurosurgeons Work In?

Neurosurgeons generally work in the surgical department of hospitals that perform brain and spine operations. Some neurosurgeons specialise in specific areas of spinal cord-related problems. 

These include neck disorders, spinal cord injuries, and paediatric neurosurgery required for infants and children. Because the role is so specialised, neurosurgeons can be called upon for emergency situations like accidents, or head injuries. 

They may also be called on to perform outpatient procedures like pain-management therapies under a physician’s practice.

What kind of questions can I ask my brain surgeon?

When visiting neurosurgeons, be fully prepared to ask any or all questions that you may have in order to fully understand what condition you are diagnosed with, what is the treatment plan, and how should you be expecting to move forward. 

Make sure to write your questions down beforehand so you don’t forget them. The questions you can ask are:

  • Why is it that I need this surgery?
  • How will the surgery help me exactly?
  • What are the chances of success or failure?
  • Have we considered all of the risks of going ahead with the surgery?
  • Have we evaluated all other surgical options before going ahead with this one?
  • How long will the surgical procedure take?
  • What is the recovery period? What is it like?
  • What are the consequences of not going ahead with the surgery?
  • How and when will I know whether the surgery is successful?


This article answers the question of how many hours a brain surgeon work. It includes information on what is neurosurgery, what brain surgeons do, the pros and cons of being a brain surgeon, and other information on them. In the end, the article will answer some frequently asked questions about brain surgeons.

Frequently Asked Questions: How Many Hours Does a Brain Surgeon Work?

What are the steps to becoming a neurosurgeon?

The steps usually involved in becoming a neurosurgeon are Pre-med Bachelor’s degree, then four years of medical school, four years of internship, and one year of residency.

What is the personality of neurosurgeons like?

Neurosurgeons have the capacity to manage stressful and pressurizing situations. They like intense intellectual challenges and enjoy the intrinsic rewards that performing advanced life-saving surgeries brings them.

How much tax will you have to pay as a neurosurgeon?

In the USA, as an individual filer, the estimated average federal tax in 2018 was 35%. After the federal tax rate of 35% has been taken out, neurosurgeons can expect to take home the payment of $193,176/year, which is around $8,049 on each paycheck.

What are the salary rates in the USA according to years of experience for neurosurgeons? 

Neurosurgeons earn extremely well wages from the start of their careers as they have been trained for 15 years to reach where they are. After qualifying for a neurosurgeon, the salary will keep rising with time and experience. 

At 5 years or less, a neurosurgeon earns $301,000 approximately. With 10 years of experience, their salaries are $397,000 per year. 20+ years of experience leads to drawing a salary of $414,000 per year. The top 10% of neurosurgeons can even make around $873,000 per year and sometimes even more!