Which doctor to see?

Some people ask: ‘should I see an orthopaedic surgeon or a neurosurgeon about my back or neck?’

Today, the answer is based on an individual surgeons training in spinal techniques and their reputation in spinal surgery. It does not usually matter whether your surgeon is from an orthopaedic or neurosurgical background.

Spinal surgery has expanded enormously in the past 20 years or so and training in the particular skills required has become more uniform, regardless of the background of the surgeon. The best trained spinal surgeons have undertaken additional, advanced training in spinal techniques after qualifying from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in either orthopaedics or neurosurgery. The College of Surgeons now oversees accreditation of advanced training in spinal surgery in Australia (part of Post Fellowship Education and Training – PFET) and this is combined between orthopaedics and neurosurgery. Surgeons from both disciplines sit on the spinal PFET committee.