A spine surgeon performs surgical procedures on the spine. The type of surgery performed will depend on the location, severity, and medical history of the patient. Because every person’s anatomy is different, some surgeons will not recommend certain procedures, while others may use a different approach. Some of the common surgical techniques used by spine surgeons include discectomy, spinal fusion, and foraminotomy.
Differences between a neurosurgeon and a spine surgeon
If you are suffering from spinal deformity or a herniated disc, you may consider having surgery to treat your condition. However, it is important to choose the right surgeon for your procedure because their skill and expertise will determine the success rate of the procedure. Generally, spine procedures are performed by neurosurgeons or orthopedic surgeons. While both of these specialties are highly respected in their fields, neurosurgeons are the preferred choice when it comes to spinal procedures.
The main difference between a neurosurgeon and a spinal surgeon is the type of training they receive. The ispine.com.au training of a neurosurgeon is focused on treating disorders of the brain and spine. While a neurosurgeon may perform brain surgery, spine surgeons focus almost exclusively on spinal disorders. Spine surgeons also tend to be more experienced with spinal fusion surgeries than neurosurgeons.
Procedures performed by a spine surgeon
Spine surgeons use a variety of advanced techniques to correct deformities in the spine. They can correct scoliosis or sagittal malalignment. Traditional open surgery involves a large exposure and requires extensive planning, while the minimally invasive approach (MIS) restores disc height without cage subsidence. MIS is also used to treat patients with osteoporosis and osteopenia. MIS can reduce the amount of radiation exposure, pain, and blood loss compared to other surgical procedures.
Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TMISS) involves fusing the two vertebrae and reducing spinal nerve movement. This surgery uses a two-retractor approach to minimize the disruption of the midline bones and ligaments. The surgeon then removes a disk or lamina and inserts a bone graft into the disk space. Sometimes, screws or rods are used to add additional support to the fusion.
Experience of a spine surgeon
Before choosing a spine surgeon, it is important to consider the experience of the surgeon. While both orthopedic and neurosurgeons are capable of performing spinal procedures, the training and experience of each is very different. A spine surgeon will have the knowledge to perform the most advanced and sophisticated procedures, while an orthopedic surgeon can perform less complex surgery.
A good spine surgeon will spend plenty of time discussing your options and answer all your questions. He or she should be easy to reach, approachable, and willing to listen to your concerns. In addition, a good spine surgeon should not discourage you from seeking a second opinion. If your surgeon discourages you from asking questions or does not offer you an opportunity to discuss the risks and benefits of the surgery, this is a red flag.
A good spine surgeon will have undergone formal training and fellowships in different areas. A formal fellowship curriculum ensures that a surgeon has a broad range of skills. The degree of competency of a spine surgeon is often significantly different amongst those who have completed a fellowship and those who did not.