We carried out a prospective study of the effect of neurosurgical teleconsultations on patient management in northern Norway. The total number of teleradiology image transfers during an eight-month study period was 723. We recorded data on 99 (14%) of these teleconsultations, which concerned 92 patients; the remainder were transfers to other departments at our hospital and transfers of routine examinations from a small community hospital that did not have a radiologist. The neurosurgeon on call noted the clinical condition and response time for each consultation. The consequences of the teleconsultation and the eventual benefits of the image transfer were evaluated. All 10 referring hospitals in the region used the service. The median response time was 3 hours (range 1-21 hours) in emergency cases and 1 day (range 1-7 days) in ordinary consultations. The response time was significantly shorter for patients with head injuries (median 3 hours) than for those with intracranial tumours (median 24 hours). Image transfer was considered beneficial for the patient in 93% of the cases. Avoidance of unnecessary patient transfer, changes of treatment at the referring hospital on the advice of the neurosurgeon and initiation of emergency transfer occurred in 34%, 42% and 13% of cases, respectively. The results confirm that teleconsultations between referring hospitals and a regional neurosurgical service influence patient management and reduce the frequency of patient transfer.