Neurosurgeon Or Orthopedist


The Orthopedic Surgeon that ordered my MRI has recommended that I have surgery. I'm going to see a neurosurgeon tomorrow for a second opinion. If I decide surgery is the way to go which type of surgeon is better and why?


An orthopedic surgeon is trained to deal primarily with the bones and joints - the residency training period after internship is 3 or 4 years - then a fellowship in spine may be an additional year.

A neurosurgeon is trained to deal primarily with the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, nerve roots and nerves) these are delicate tissues and neurosurgeons are known for delicate work and specifically for protecting the nervous system and avoiding injury to these critical structures. - the residency training period is a minimum of 5 years - some programs are 6 to 8 years long. - there are only about 3500 board certified neurosurgeons world-wide.

Typically, if an orthopedic surgeon is doing a substantial spine operation, a neurosurgeon will be there as well. If a neurosurgeon is doing an operation that extensively involves bone, joint or the possibility of fusion, then an orthopedist may be involved as well.

Basically, for major spine operations you may wish to have both fields represented.

This is commonly done.

The Back Institute

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