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Can orthopedic spine surgeons do LAMINECTOMIES?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have stenosis at 3 lumbar levels. I also had 3 bulging disks and arthritis at those same levels (L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1). I have had all the injections, PT...the usual. I don't have any numbness in the legs or anything. Just a little sciatica under my butt in one leg. My hip hurts so bad I have to limp. Its really bumming me out and getting old. Standing and walking are killers right now. My big question is this: I had neck fusion in Jan. 07. An orthopedic spinal surgeon did that surgery and I was happy with him. Do I need a neuro-surgeon if I have surgery on the back or would this orthopedic spinal surgeon be able to do like a LAMINECTOMY? (or whatever)


  • I am sure he's trained to do L-Spine surgery,too.Just ask how many he's done.It's very important that you feel comfortable with him.
    Good luck!G.
  • Yes for sure!! the orthopedic Surgeon is the one you should be talking two IMO.
    Good luck.
  • An ortho doc with a year fellowship in spine surgery and experience would be an option.

    I personally feel an experienced neurosurgeon for a lami is for me. When it's complicated maybe an experienced spine specialist.

    Again, for a simple lami I want a spine/nerve trained doc in my back and keep an ortho for a broken bone.

    Your doc now may have the experience and fellowship training already maybe it just hasn't come up until now although it should have if he/she was in your spine already, so yeah like the last poster said talk with this doc. Frankly if this doc was already in your spine doing the neck fusion then why the second guessing for your lumbar back? He might have had to do a laminectomy during the neck fusion so again just talk with him so that your comfortable still.

    Either way one of those other docs can offer a second opinion which is always a great idea.

    Lots of luck to you!!!

  • :) hi! i had my double laminectomy. L4-L5, done by one and it was a success. it is now many years later and other problems have reared their heads but that surgery was a success. Jenny :)
  • I didnt have a laminectomy in my neck...just 2 level fusion and bone spur removal. I was asking because with fusion there is a lot of bone work and instrumentation. With this there is a lot of nerve stuff and no instrumentation.
  • I would say talk to the surgeon. At this point if you aren't even sure what type of surgery is necessary or needed, then you are putting the cart before the horse. A surgeon will tell you if they can or cannot do a specific type of surgery.

    Good luck to you,

  • If it came down to it, you could have both work on you.
    They could work together. Why not?
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • My microd/laminectomy and revision laminectomy were done by an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon. I would ask the guy you've seen before if you're comfortable with him. If not, then its time to do some research....either a OS or a NS would be able to help you if they specialized in spines.
  • As long as you are comfortable with the OS - and it sounds like you are then there is no reason not to see him again. YUou said he is spine specalised so definitely go and see him and see what he recommende doing.

    I know in Australia the general rule here is you use a Ortho spinal specalist for Thoracic, Lumbar and sacral joints but for the Cevical I would use a neuro surgeon.
    It could be quite different there but any surgeon who specalises in the spine should have both ortho and neauro training anyway.

    All the best
  • Orthopaedic Surgeon or Neurosurgeon? That is the question….

    We are frequently asked on this message board “Which surgeon is better? An Orthopaedic Surgeon or Neurosurgeon? The truth is, depending upon your specific condition, probably either in many situations.

    As you can read here, both can perfom a wide range of spine surgery so, much more of an issue for most of us should be, not which type of surgeon, but the specific area of expertise, qualifications, practical experience and success rate in your type of surgery, of the surgeon that you choose. Also very important is choosing a surgeon who you feel you can communicate easily with.

    So, anyway, still what is the difference?

    Simplistically, neurosurgeons work on the nervous system, while orthopaedic surgeons work on “bones”. But this is too simplistic, as many of our spinal problems involve both the nerves (spinal cord) and bones (e.g. vertebrae). The following is a better “Surgeon 101” definition:

    “Neurosurgeons diagnose, evaluate and treat disorders of the brain and nervous system, such as aneurysms, head and spinal cord trauma, and brain and spinal cord cancers. To become a neurosurgeon, medical school graduates must complete one year of training in a general surgery residency program and five years of training in a neurological surgery residency program.”

    Orthopedic Surgeons
    “Orthopedic surgeons diagnose and treat disorders that impair movement, such as arthritis, fractures, lower back pain, joint degeneration, and shoulder, hip and knee injuries. To become an orthopedic surgeon, medical school graduates must complete one year of training in a general medical specialty residency, such as general surgery, internal medicine or pediatrics, followed by four years of training in an orthopedic surgery residency.”

    Source: http://www.sjo.org/FindaPhysician/specialties.htm

    The following perhaps gives an even clearer definition and comparison:
    Both Can Specialize in Spine Surgery
    Though things were different many years ago, today there are a large number of both orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons who specialize in spine surgery. More and more, we are referring to each other as "spine surgeons" as the distinction between us is becoming nonexistent. Both neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons specializing in spine surgery are skilled in taking care of disc herniations, disc degenerations, spinal stenosis, fractures of the spine, slippage of the spine (spondylolisthesis), scoliosis, bone tumors of the spine, etc. For younger patients, there is a subset of spine specialists that is devoted to the pediatric patient (usually defined by patients below age 15 or so).
    There are a few areas where there still is a difference. Only neurosurgeons are trained during their six or seven year residency to perform procedures inside the lining of the spinal canal called the dura. Thus, spinal cord tumors, arachnoid cysts, syringomyelia, Chiari malformation, spinal cord arteriovenous malformation, diplomyelia or diastematomyelia, tethered spinal cord, spina bifida or myelomeningocele, lipomyelomeningocele, tumors at the junction of the base of the skull and upper cervical spine, nerve root tumors, and a few other diagnoses still fall under the domain of the neurosurgeon. Similarly, both pediatric and adult scoliosis and other spinal deformities are still primarily treated surgically by orthopedic spine specialists.
    Source: http://www.spineuniverse.com/displayarticle.php/article2471.html


    Finally, of course spine-health.com also has lots of good information regarding selecting the right surgeon:

    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Thanks everyone. I feel very comfortable now seeing the orthopedic spine surgeon that did my neck. He did a good job.
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