The Difference between an Orthopedic Surgeon & a Neurosurgeon

Category: Surgeons | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: April 3, 2014

neurosurgeonsOrthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons share a lot of similarities (in fact, many people think they are synonymous). However, there are differences that define and separate the two. It’s important to know the differences between each if you are considering back or neck surgery. In this article we will explain the similarities and differences between neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons and talk about when to choose which for your procedure.

Neurosurgeons

Neurosurgeons are medical doctors who must complete a 5-6 year neurological residency. They diagnose and treat conditions related to the following:

  • Brain
  • Spine
  • Nerves

As a result, neurosurgery encompasses both brain surgery and spine surgery. Historically, if you needed surgery on your spine you would go see a neurosurgeon. These days, however, some orthopedic surgeons also perform spinal procedures, depending on their sub-specialties.

Orthopedic Surgeons

Orthopedic surgeons treat conditions related to the entire musculoskeletal system. Because the musculoskeletal system includes a lot of areas, many orthopedic surgeons specialize in a particular area, such as:

  • The Hands
  • The Feet
  • The Spine
  • And other parts of the body

These surgeons also must receive a medical degree and finish a five-year orthopedic surgery residency, generally followed by an orthopedic fellowship.

How to Choose

Both neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons can be qualified to perform spinal surgeries. When choosing a surgeon you should focus on their track record, and their sub-specialties. Find a surgeon who specializes in the procedure you are considering. Once you find a surgeon with a great track record of performing the procedure you are interested in, it is equally important to build a trusting relationship with that surgeon. Get to know them during your surgical consultation and ask yourself if you feel confident placing your body and life in this surgeon’s hands.

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