There are two generally types of spine doctors that we see in our cases. The first would be a neurosurgeon; the second will be an orthopedic spinal surgeon. Both doctors are qualified to treat individuals with spinal injuries.
The neurosurgeon is an individual who operates on the nervous system, back, neck, and brain. Neurosurgeons have a bit more expansive type of practice. Orthopedic spine surgeons are specialists but they have a specialty in the spine and treating the spine. Conservative treatment comes about from chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, and conservative types of treatment of physiatrist. There are even lesser known types of treatment including massage therapy, and acupuncture.
An orthopedic spine doctor or a neurosurgeon will assess whether the disc pathology is so severe that conservative measures will no longer provide relief, particularly when disc pathology is causing problems into other parts of the body including Clumsiness in the hand, clumsiness in the feet, inability to engage in normal activities of daily living. Either one of them would perform surgical intervention that can come about in a number of ways.
There is micro discectomy, where they shaved off a portion of the disc to try to relieve the pressure, complete discectomy is where the disc is actually removed, and then there is bone put into place from the hip it’s called an iliac bone graft. There is also a relatively new type of surgery which is disc replacement surgery where the disc is removed and a new synthetic disk is put in its place.
The neurosurgeon or the orthopedic spine surgeon will know the best position of those treatments which will provide the most relief after conservative treatment has failed.