Orthopaedic Surgery Of Spine

Posted by drericbeckmd on September 20th, 2017

When patients are considering having spine surgery, one of the most common questions they have is, “Which is better, a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic spine surgeon?” The quick answer is that for most types of spine surgery, both specially trained orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons may be considered. This article profiles the similarities and differences between the two specialties, and provides additional advice on how to select a spine surgeon.

Neurosurgeons and Orthopedic Surgeons can Specialize in Spine Surgery 
Many years ago, neurosurgeons were primarily responsible for spine surgery, but in the past 20 to 25 years spine surgery has evolved so that both neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons specialize in spine surgery, and for most of the typical spine operations both types of surgeons are equally well qualified. 
The surgeons may subspecialize, such as in the case of surgeons who specialize in pediatrics, cervical spine, lumbar spine, hand and wrist surgery, plastic surgery, or in other areas or procedures.

Neurosurgeons 
Neurosurgeons may be Medical Doctors or Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, and complete a five to six year residency focused on the surgical treatment of neurological conditions. Neurosurgeons are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders involving:

  • Brain
  • Spine and spinal cord
  • Nerves
  • Intracranial and intraspinal vasculature

Orthopedic Surgeons 
Orthopedic surgeons may be Medical Doctors (MD) or Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) who have completed a five-year surgical residency focused on the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. Orthopedists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of almost all bone and joint disorders.

Spine Fellowships 
Both orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons may extend their training after residency by completing a spine fellowship program. These fellowships provide additional, specialized training for orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons that have successfully completed their residency training and earned their board certification or eligibility in their specialty.

Completing a spine fellowship is a marker of a surgeon who has chosen to specialize in spine surgery and is willing to make the extra investment in training to become more skilled.

Author: ERIC BECK M.D.

About: Dr. Eric R. Beck MD is the best Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Doctor in Huntsville, Alabama.

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