Guidelines in Choosing Spine Surgeons

Spine surgeons are doctors who have received medical training in diagnosing and treating spine disorders and related conditions of the neck, mid-back and lower back. Other such disorders include the following:

– Scoliosis
– Osteoarthritis
– Herniated discs
– Stenosis

Majority of spine surgeons are orthopedic surgeons or neurosurgeons who are both trained in the diagnosis, treatment and management of spine disorders. In general, they are able to provide medical care for both adults and children. Neck and back pain sufferers usually ask for medical advice from their family physician and most of them are referred to spine surgeons or specialists.

These days it very important to be involved as much as possible in your own health care like choosing your spine surgeon. Most medical care programs do not allow you to select your surgeon but if you are able to, please follow the guidelines below:

1. Look for spine surgeons who are fellowship-trained in spine surgery and are board certified.

2. Good spine surgeons have devoted at least 50% of their medical practice to the treatment of different spinal disorders. Spine surgeons who often treat patients with spinal conditions are updated with the latest medical technologies than physicians who seldom see spine patients.

3. Aside from qualifications, it is very important to pick a spine surgeon whom you will feel confident and comfortable with. Finding a physician that you can trust is equally as important as finding an experienced surgeon.

4. Ask the spine surgeon about his or her experience with the latest medical technologies in spine surgery. Ask the number of surgeries he or she have performed using the latest equipment in spine treatment. After all, you would not want your spine surgery to be a practice session for new physicians.

5. Consult your physician and talk about your health care or medical insurance if you have any. Know what medical expenses are covered by your health care provider and the expenses that you need to shoulder.

6. If possible, ask a friend or relative if they know of a good spine surgeon or you can ask assistance from physician referral services in a hospital near your area. Also, you can visit websites that can help in choosing a spine specialist.

Avoid spine surgeons who do the following:

• Discourages patients in getting a second opinion
• Not answering questions directly
• Forces surgery (surgery is always the last option)
• Not considering other treatment options

Finding a good spine surgeon is not that difficult. Nevertheless, you should be very careful. If you have any issues with a particular spine surgeon, get in touch with your local Medical Board to know whether that physician has a record of malpractice.