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Orthopedic Surgeon vs. Neurosurgeon for Spine Surgery

by. Admin
31 January 2019
Orthopedic Surgeon vs. Neurosurgeon for Spine Surgery

When patients consider spinal surgery, one of the most common questions they have is, "Which is better, neurosurgeon or orthopedic bone surgeon?" The short answer is that for most types of spine surgery, both specially trained orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons can be considered. This article describes the similarities and differences between the two specialties, and provides additional advice on how to choose a spinal surgeon.

Neurosurgeons and Orthopedic Surgeons can Take Specialization in Spinal Surgery

Years ago, neurosurgeons were primarily responsible for spinal surgery, but in the last 20 to 25 years spinal surgery has developed so that neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons specialize in spinal surgery, and for most spine surgeries both types of surgeons are equally good quality.

In both of these specialties, surgeons can specialize themselves more specifically, as in the case of a surgeon who specializes in pediatrics, cervical spine, cervical spine, hand and wrist surgery, plastic surgery, or in other areas / procedures.


Neurosurgeons may be a Medical Doctor or Osteopathic Medicine Doctor, and complete a five to six year residency that focuses on the surgical treatment of neurological conditions. Neurosurgeons are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders involving:


Spine and spinal cord


Intracranial and intraspinal vessels

Some neurosurgeons specialize in brain surgery, some in spinal surgery, and some others share practice taking both.

Orthopedic Surgeon

An orthopedic surgeon is a Medical Doctor (MD) or Osteopathic Medical Doctor (DO) who has completed a five-year surgical residency focusing on the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. Orthopedists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of almost all disorders of bones and joints, such as:

Spinal disorders


Sports injuries


Bone tumor

Hand injury and deformity

Total joint replacement

Some orthopedic surgeons focus their practice exclusively on spinal surgery, some on other types of joints (eg hips, knees, shoulders), and some divide their practice between two or more areas.

Both neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons can complete fellowship training to do most types of spinal surgery, but there are several types of spinal surgery where one specialty tends to be of higher quality than the other, such as:

In the past, orthopedic surgeons tended to be more qualified to perform surgery for spinal disorders, such as scoliosis, other types of spinal deformities. Today many neurosurgeons have been trained in deformity surgery.

Neurosurgeons tend to be more eligible for intradural surgery (surgery inside the dura in the spinal cord), such as a sac pouch tumor.

Spine Fellowship

Both orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons can extend their training after residency by completing a spinal fellowship program. This scholarship provides additional training specifically for orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons who have successfully completed their residency training and obtained board certification or eligibility in their field of expertise.

Resolving spinal fellowship is a marker of a surgeon who has chosen to specialize in spinal surgery and is willing to invest extra in training to become more skilled.

So, if you are undergoing spinal surgery, our advice is to choose a specialist from a neurosurgeon or orthopedic specialist who is dedicated to dealing with spinal problems only, because a doctor will have a focus on one of many medical problems, automaticly having high flight hours in handling patients as a guarantee of increasing the success rate of action, with the permission of God. One of the characteristics that we can look for information is from an education degree that is carried. If it lists (K) Spine it means that the doctor is a counselor (highest hierarchy in hospital functional) in handling spinal problems.

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