Both types of doctors can perform spinal surgery. Traditionally, orthopedic surgeons performed procedures where instrumentation (metal implants) were used, but presently both neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons can be trained in all types of spinal surgery.
When determining who should manage, and possibly perform surgery, on your spinal condition, it is less important to consider neurosurgeon versus orthopedic surgeon, and more important to consider factors such as:
- How many surgeries does your doctor perform on your condition?
- How many are done at your local hospital?
- What is the complication rate? What are the common complications?
- What is the rehabilitation after surgery?
- What are the alternatives to surgery?
- Did your surgeon receive sub-specialty training in spine surgery?
If you have questions about the management of your condition, do not hesitate to get a second opinion. Deciding if you need spinal surgery is a difficult decision, and your should definitely consider all of your options.