Why You Should Choose a Neurosurgeon for Your Spinal Surgery: What makes us different from orthopedic spine surgeons?

A neurosurgeon specializes in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system. Our training encompasses caring for the brain, the spinal cord and the nerves, including their support structure--the spine. Why settle for a surgeon whose expertise allows him to manage only one part of the problem? What if you problem isn’t limited simply to the bony scaffold but to the system as a whole? Neurosurgical education begins at day one with intense training in function and disease of the brain, spinal cord and nervous system. This approach to care of spinal disorders views the spine as a system, with bones, discs and nerves all working together to make your body work. Because we see all of these parts as interrelated, we approach the evaluation and treatment of spinal problems without isolating the discs or bones in the spine. Spinal surgery training is part of every day, week and month of a 7-9 year residency training program for neurosurgeons. Orthopedic surgeons get very little spine training during a residency focused on the joint and bone disorders that are the core of orthopedic education, completing their spine training largely during a single 12 month post-residency fellowship. Much of spine surgery is similar in technique whether performed by a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon. We remove and reshape bones, trim back discs, fuse portions of the spine with titanium instrumentation and grafts. Orthopedic surgeons, however, do not perform brain surgery or surgery on the spinal cord, exacting microsurgical techniques left to neurosurgeons. Any spine surgery is millimeters from these structures at all times. Why wouldn’t you choose a surgeon who is qualified to manage any problems that exist or may arise in the area of your surgical procedure? One who is extensively trained in microsurgical technique to manage issues in these delicate areas? Only neurosurgeons are trained during their residency to perform procedures inside the lining of the spinal canal called the dura. Spinal cord tumors, arachnoid cysts, syringomyelia, Chiari malformation, spinal cord vascular malformations, tethered spinal cord, spina bifida, nerve tumors, and a few other diagnoses fall under the domain of the neurosurgeon. Choose only the best team to care for your spine--it is the center of your body, the foundation for all you do!