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Back surgery- Spine vs Neurosurgeon??

CitygirlCCitygirl Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I need back surgery for 2 herniated discs in my lower back.
I've been getting conflicting advice on whether or not I should see a spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon. I know they both can do it, but does anyone have personal experience w/either one for basic back surgery? Thanks!


  • Hi

    In my opinion I think it depends on what your problem is. If a nerve is being affected then I would do neuro. If it is more a mechanical issue on the spine then I would do ortho. Some operate as a team with each handling their specialty.

    What are the doctors proposing? Is it a microdisectomy or a fusion? That also can sway you in one direction.

    In the end both are qualified to do the surgery. Often the most important factor is if you like the doctor and the staff. You need to have confidence in your doctor in my humble opinion.

    Good Luck finding the right doctor.
  • I had both a neuro and an ortho present during my discectomies.

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • My first surgery 5 years ago was a laminectomy with removal of a spinal cyst and decompression of nerve root, this was done by a neurosurgeon.

    8 months later, I was in real trouble with stenosis, herniated disc, spondylosis. Underwent a L4-5 fusion with hardware.

    I do not think that the neurosurgeon did anything wrong. The spine is complicated. I had degenerative disc disease.

    You need to get a complete understanding of what is wrong (diagnosis), pros, cons, etc and alternative of different surgeries.

    I saw three doctors before I underwent my second surgeon. One neuro, and two spine surgeons.
    Not all orthopedic docs are specialized in spine. You need to find a doctor that does this ALL the time. Whether it be a neuro or spine surgeon. Get as much information and knowledge as you can before you make a final decision. We have all been there, it is not an easy choice, good luck to you.
  • Citygirl,

    The key here is "Spine specialist." In some cases, that particular area of the spine! I've had 2 cervical surgeries -same surgeon- Neurosurgeon. It is looking like I will be undergoing a revision plus a level or two, and since "bone" is causing more of the issues this time, I am debating and thinking of getting an Orthosurgeon who specializes in revisions.

    Now in fairness to both. My last surgery I had an opinion from my Neurosurgeon, and a spine trained Orthopedic surgeon, and both stated almost the exact same surgery to address it. Then it comes down to who you are most comfortable with. I hope that helps. Welcome aboard!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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