How To Find A Qualified Spine Surgeon

Over the past 20 years, the developments in the medical industry have been significant. As a result, neurosurgeons are trained specifically in spine surgery. Both neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons can specialize in spine surgery.

Surgeons can sub-specialize. Examples include pediatrics, hand/wrist, lumbar spine and cervical spine procedures. Neurosurgeons can be doctors of osteopathic medicine. They receive 5 to 6 years of residency training focused on the surgical treatment of various neurological conditions, post medical school. They are highly trained in the diagnosis and treatment of various disorders. The main areas they are trained in include spine, brain, nerves and intraspinal/ intracranial nerves. It is possible for neurosurgeons to split their time between brain surgeries and spine surgeries.

Finding an Orthopedic Surgeon That Specializes in Spine Surgery

Similarly to neurosurgeons, surgeons can specialize in spine surgery, along with other fields. Orthopedic surgeons can be doctors of osteopathic medicine as well. They receive 5 years of surgical residency training, focused on musculoskeletal conditions, post medical school. Orthopedic surgeons are highly trained in the diagnosis and treatment of nearly all bone and joint conditions. These include spinal disorders, sports injuries, arthritis, bone tumors, trauma, joint replacement and hand injuries. An orthopedic surgeon may choose to focus his/her practice on spine surgery. Alternatively, they can focus their practice on other areas such as knees, shoulders and hips. It is also possible for an orthopedic surgeon to divide their time between one or more specialty.

Comparing Surgeons

Neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons complete their fellowships with training and knowledge on most spine surgeries. However, for specific spine surgeries, one is typically more experienced than the other. For example, orthopedic surgeons are typically more qualified for spinal deformity surgery. This includes scoliosis and other spinal deformities. In terms of intradural surgery, neurosurgeons are typically more qualified for these procedures. This includes thecal sac tumors.

Surgeons can complete spine fellowships in order to extend their training and enhance their skills. These fellowships begin after the surgeon completes his/her residency and earns eligibility/ board certification. A spine fellowship is an indicator of commitment and dedication to the specific field. This may have not been an option for surgeons 15-20 years ago. Prior to the recognition of spine surgery as a sub-specialty, it was difficult for a surgeon to complete a spine fellowship, as they were rare.