When a patient considers having spine surgery, one of the most common questions arises is, “Who is better, an orthopaedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon?” It depends on the problem. Nowadays apart from the orthopaedic surgeons, Neurosurgeons are also doing some spine work. Classically neurosurgeons provide treatment for brain problems and orthopaedic surgeons provide treatment for problems associated with the spinal column and the limbs.
Orthopaedic surgeons who specialize in spine surgery are usually known as spine surgeons. They dedicate their entire time towards patients needing spine care. Most of them in the process giving up lucrative limb trauma, arthroscopy and joint replacement surgery. It obviously means that they chose to specialize in spine work out of sheer passion and not economic considerations.
However, it is usually a rarity to find a neurosurgeon who has dedicated himself to spine surgery giving up lucrative brain surgery. As the number of surgeons and the specialities has increased more and more orthopaedic surgeons are sub specializing in the spine. Similar changes are happening in neurosurgical units.
Spine Surgery To Be A Specialty
After completion of residencies, orthopaedic doctors continue their training by participating in various fellowship programs where they receive additional practice or training in specialized surgeries. Orthopaedic surgeons might choose particularly on one of the surgeries, or they choose to split their practice which includes the spine, hip, knees, hands, wrists, shoulders, ankles, feet, elbows etc.
Out of all bony parts, spine is unique with a complicated structure, and it requires precision for performing spinal surgeries, demands a high quality of training and commitment. It is turning out to be a speciality with time and orthopaedic doctors specializing in it to be spine surgeons. Dr Surya Prakash has made such commitment throughout his career with outstanding surgical experience and became one of the best spine surgeons in Hyderabad.
Neurosurgeon Vs Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon
Neurosurgeons were primarily accountable for brain surgery. Over the past, one to two decades the medical field has far developed so that neurosurgeons and are showing interest in spine surgery. Classically their role is for the brain and for handling the spinal cord tumours. Most of the intradural work is usually done by a neurosurgeon. Compared to the volume of all the affections in spine surgery, the aliments of the spinal column (disc, bone etc) are around 95% and the intradural work to less than 5%. Neurosurgeons are more adept at the treatment of the circulatory problems of the cerebrospinal fluid which bathes the brain and the spinal cord. They treat them with shunt operations.
As the vertebral column is a bony structure, an orthopaedic spine surgeon may be an ideal choice to deal with the musculoskeletal problems associated with the spine.
Orthopaedic spine surgeons are fellowship-trained & board-certified and are qualified. However, the main variation is their specialization. An orthopaedic spine surgeon specially trained to treat the various spine disorders which involve placement of screws, rods into the spinal bone. They are especially good at the treatment of any deformity and condition which demands a bony fusion of spine along with spinal decompression. A few neurosurgeons who are trained in spine surgery are also rendering services.
An Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon
An orthopaedic spine surgeon is someone who specialized in treating orthopaedic problems are primarily focused on treating all musculoskeletal conditions of lower back, spine, neck etc.
Orthopaedic surgeons treat all the musculoskeletal conditions associated with bones, joints, and muscles and they are specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of bone and joint disorders especially;
Orthopaedic spine surgeons can provide both operative and non-operative treatment for patients of all ages. Some orthopaedic spine surgeons mainly deal with spinal problems like scoliosis, kyphosis, degenerative disorders, or problems associated with a particular region of the cervical spine, lumbar spine or lower back etc.
A Neurosurgeon is someone who specializes in treating neurological problems associated with the brain and primary spinal cord tumours or syringomyelia. Most neurosurgeons are specialized exclusively on brain surgery whereas some are doing spine work as well.
- Spine and spinal cord
- Intracranial and intraspinal vasculature
Does Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon Treat Nerves?
There is a perception that only neurosurgeons are more concerned with the nerves during spine surgery than orthopaedic spine surgeons. Every spine surgeon, irrespective of the specialist weather he is a neuro or ortho spine surgeon performing the surgery, they are concerned with the nerves of the patient.
Any surgery that involves the anatomy of the nerves of the spinal column is quite complicated. Any surgery of this magnitude without considering the nerves related to the spine cannot be successful. During the training, orthopaedic spine surgeons learn the same techniques and procedures to deal with the nerves during surgery.
Both neurosurgeons and orthopaedic surgeons might complete their fellowship training to perform of most the spine surgery, but there are some specific spine surgeries where one specialization tends to be more qualified compared to the other, such as:
- There are a few areas that differentiate an orthopaedic spine surgeon and a neurosurgeon. Some neurosurgeons mostly get trained during their residency to operate inside the dura membrane, the lining of the spinal canal to remove the cal sac tumours etc.
- Orthopaedic spine surgeons are tended to be better trained to bone work like spinal instrumentation (putting screws and rods in the spine) and fusion (resting and uniting the segments of the spine). They exclusively treat spinal deformities like scoliosis and kyphosis
- An orthopaedic spine surgeon will observe the progress after surgery from beginning to end. They advise you from diagnosis to treatment and helps you throughout the rehabilitation program for faster recovery.