Facing the possibility of needing spinal surgery can be both intimidating and confusing. There are plenty of talented spine surgeons in the Los Angeles area, but who is the best one for you?
At Saadat Spine believe in providing the safest and most effective care for our patients, founded on the principles of evidence-based medicine, research, and the latest techniques available.
In this post Dr. Ehsan Saadat shares his advice for things to think about when choosing the best spinal surgeon for you:
What to Consider When Selecting a Spine Surgeon
1. Confirm that the spine surgeon has finished residency training and is board certified in their specialty.
The spine surgeon that you choose ought to have completed their residency training in neurosurgery or orthopedic surgery.
A physician who is board-certified in pain management or anesthesiology may be qualified to perform injections, but to be qualified to perform spinal surgery, they must have completed a residency in orthopedic surgery and/or neurosurgery.
2. Confirm that the spine surgeon has undergone advanced spine surgery training via a fellowship.
Ideally, the spine surgeon you choose will have received training beyond her residency. This training often comes in the form of a fellowship.
3. Consider whether you ought to be treated by an orthopedic surgeon or a neurosurgeon.
While both orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons are generally capable of performing most varieties of spinal surgery, there is an important difference in their training.
The 5-year residency of orthopedic surgeons provides training in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders. Musculoskeletal refers to joints. bones, muscles, and nerves.
Alternatively, the residency training for neurosurgeons focuses on disorders of the brain and spine.
It’s important that you know whether the spine surgeon you are considering is an orthopedic surgeon or a neurosurgeon, and that you choose the right one based on your condition.
Dr. Saadat is an orthopedic spine surgeon who completed his Orthopaedic Surgery Residency at Harvard University.
4. Ask how often your surgeon performs the operation that he or she is recommending.
Also ask about other surgical options, such as minimally-invasive surgery or motion-preserving surgery, and their relative advantages and disadvantages. Ask whether your surgeon has considered other options in treating the problem at hand.
These questions should not offend your surgeon. Most spinal problems can be effectively treated without surgery, and, except in rare circumstances, surgery should not be the first option in treating a spinal problem.
If your spinal surgeon has not considered non-surgical options or has not discussed other surgical methods of addressing your spinal problem, it might be good to obtain a second opinion.
5. Ask where the surgery will be performed, and whether the hospital or surgery center performs a high volume of spinal surgery.
Also, ask if your surgeon is part of a multi-disciplinary and well-recognized spine center.
As with many other things in medicine, repetition can mean more expertise. Having surgery at a center where a high volume of spine surgery is performed every year might mean that more resources and advanced facilities are available and that systems are in place to reduce complications and adverse events.
Being part of a multi-disciplinary spine center usually means that your surgeon works closely with a team of other providers.
6. Make sure your spine surgeon supports your decision to get a second opinion.
It is never a bad idea to seek a second opinion before committing to undergoing spine surgery. It is a significant red flag if the spine surgeon you are considering – or already being treated by – takes offense to your desire to get a second opinion.
At Saadat Spine, we routinely see folks who want a second (or third) opinion before committing to surgery, and we encourage our patients to seek the same. There is rarely anything to lose by getting a second opinion, and much to gain. The best spine surgeon for you should know this and support your choice in doing so.
7. Check out online reviews of the spinal surgeons you are considering.
Reviews are a great way to get a sense of what it’s like to work with a particular Los Angeles orthopedic spine surgeon. We are proud to have earned dozens of reviews from our patients.
Los Angeles Spine Surgeon Ehsan Saadat is Ready to Assist You
If you are searching for a Los Angeles spine surgeon, we hope you’ll reach out to us. We have locations in Los Angeles and Orange County. We also of course offer virtual consultations so that we can get to know, ask you questions about your condition, and provide you with your options for treatment.