Patients who suffer from back or neck pain typically seek medical care from their primary care physician or their family doctor. However, some patients may have issues so severe that they require the help of a spine specialist. To become a spine specialist, a doctor has to complete more years of training related to diagnosing and treating spine-specific issues and disorders like osteoarthritis, scoliosis, herniated discs, osteoporosis, fractured vertebrae, spine injuries, tumors, spinal deformities, congenital abnormalities, and infections.
Most spine surgeons fall into the category of neurosurgeons or orthopaedic surgeons who have fellowship training relating to your spine. There is a lot to consider when you're trying to decide who is the best spinal surgeon in Florida, especially when you consider how complex this surgery can be. There is a list of things you want to consider to help you pick out the best spinal surgeon in Florida, and we narrowed it down for you below.
1. Don't Be Afraid to Ask About Training
When you sit down with your potential surgeon, ask about their training, university degrees, residencies, internships, and fellowship programs. This will give you a good idea of where your spinal surgeon went to school and what specific areas they studied. The highest level of training the best spinal surgeon in Florida can have is called a fellowship. A fellowship is a type of program where your surgeon spends at least a year working with senior spine experts after they complete their residency. A lot of neurosurgeons split the fellowship training between brain and spine surgery.
2. Read Reviews
One of the easiest things you can do when you're looking for the best spinal surgeon in Florida is perform a Google search. You can look by facility or search for a specific surgeon. Read any reviews you find about them. These reviews will tell you whether or not previous patients had good experiences with the surgeon and whether or not they're happy with their results. This can help you narrow down your choices to a shorter list.
3. Take Your Comfort Levels Into Consideration
Once you meet the potential surgeon, reflect back on how you felt during the consultation process. Good communication is essential to having a solid physician and patient relationship. Does the doctor answer all of your questions and give you information about your condition? Did you think they spent enough time with you? Does the doctor welcome getting a second opinion? Are they open-minded and easily reachable? If the answer to these questions is no, you may want to keep looking.
4. Look for Accreditation
The best spinal surgeon in Florida should come certified by the American Board of Neurology Surgery. After the neurosurgeon's name, you should see the F.A.C.S. designation. This means that the surgeon in question is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. They have to meet strict standards in areas of training and education, professional credentials, competence as a surgeon, and ethical conduct to get and keep this accreditation.
5. Ask How Much Time the Surgeon Devotes to Spine-Specific Issues
Ideally, your potential surgeon will spend at least 50% of their time treating spinal conditions. Not only does this give them more experience overall, but it also means there is a better chance that they're up-to-date on newer techniques and technology than a surgeon who only occasionally works on spinal patients. The more time your surgeon spends treating spinal issues, the more likely it is that they have techniques and tools on hand to help make the procedure go as smoothly as possible from start to finish.
5. Consult with a Few Surgeons
When you're trying to find the best spinal surgeon in Florida, it's essential that you take the time to consult with more than one physician. Ideally, you'll sit down with four or five of your top picks and narrow them down from there. This process will increase your chances of finding a good fit for your needs and personality, and this can make it easier to communicate before, during, and after your procedure.
6. Find out if They Offer Minimally Invasive Surgery
Depending on your condition, you could benefit from having minimally invasive spinal surgery. There are several procedures available for use today. Nerve stimulation, laser spine surgery, and stem cell therapy are viable alternatives to help relieve your pain levels that can come from common spine conditions. These types of procedures are usually less invasive, less dangerous, and more effective than having open spine surgery.
7. Look at Testimonials
Testimonials are usually a good place to start when you're looking for the best spinal surgeon in Florida. They allow you to see what other people experienced with the surgeon in question. Sometimes, these people will have the same condition you do. You'll see patient stories on this testimonial page too. However, keep in mind that the website owner controls all of the content on this page. It's rare that you'll see any negatives, and this is why you Google too.
8. Meet the Surgeon
Just because you set up a consultation doesn't mean that you have to stay with this surgeon. Get a list of questions to bring to your consultation, and gauge your surgeon's reaction. Remember to look around the facility and see if it's a good fit for you too. Who you pick to perform your surgery is a huge decision, and you shouldn't feel obligated to stick with the first surgeon you have a consultation with. If they answer your questions, don't push one specific surgery, and make you feel comfortable, they could be a good fit for your needs.
Contact Florida Spine Associates
If you're considering spinal surgery, contact the best spinal surgeons in Florida at Florida Spine Associates. Our dedicated team has years of experience working with a huge range of patients for different procedures. We're happy to sit down with you at a consultation and address your concerns and answer your questions.