When spine surgery first started about 40 years ago, neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons would perform the surgeries together. The neurosurgeons would take the pressure off of the nerves and the orthopedic surgeons would insert the screws and do any bony work or fusion. Over time, both specialties have learned and been trained to do both things to do complete spine surgeries. The vast majority of orthopedic surgeons these days who perform spine surgery, including Dr. Shibayama, have completed a one year fellowship dedicated to spinal surgery exclusively.
Dr. Shibayama’s opinion is that it doesn’t matter today whether a patient is having spine surgery with a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon. What is important is that the patient find a surgeon that he/she can trust and has confidence in. A surgeon from either specialty can address the majority of spinal conditions that need surgery.