Fellowship Training - A doctor, after completing his residency, may chose to participate in a Spine Fellowship program. Such programs are additional comprehensive training programs that concentrate on the diagnosis and treatment of spinal disorders. Fellows advance their medical and technical skills, and gain experience under the direction of various spine surgeons who are often leaders in their field.
Board Certification - The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons (ABOS)
certifies that a surgeon has completed a voluntary complex process that includes
extensive study and rigorous testing and evaluation to ensure that he demonstrates
top notch expertise and practice standards.
Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon vs. Neurosurgeon - Traditionally neurosurgeons
focused on decompression surgery and orthopaedic surgeon on surgeries that required
metal implants (fusions). Today both types of surgeons perform most spinal
procedures. The distinction is not that important and the most important factors are:
- Sub-specialty training in spine surgery (fellowship)
- Where the surgery performed – better hospitals often equal a better surgical
- Frequency that the surgeon performs this procedure
- Personalized spine care – Taking the time to find the right treatment for each
- A Conservative approach – Surgery should be a last resort after non-surgical
treatment has been exhausted
While you consult with the spine surgeon, ask yourself:
- Am I comfortable with this surgeon?
- How compassionate is he/she (and the staff) about my pain and symptoms?
- Is he/she taking sufficient time to answer my questions?
- Does he/she explain things in terms I understand?
- Do I feel like he/she is rushing me to make a decision?
- Is the surgeon giving me all the information I need to make a well-informed decision about my spine problem?
- Is the staff kind, helpful, respectful, and courteous?