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.
Minimally invasive spine surgery is not just about the size of the incision. It is a complete overhaul in thought process and performance of the surgery to minimize damage to the structures surrounding the spine. The ultimate goal of minimally invasive spine surgery is to accomplish the same end result in terms of the surgery to the spine while preserving as many of the supporting structures to the spine as possible. Dr. Shibayama has continued his education throughout his career to ensure he is providing the most up to date techniques and technology for his patients. This is how he is able to perform and offer many surgeries on an outpatient basis, rather than requiring his patients to stay in the hospital.
In properly selected patients, spine surgery, especially minimally invasive spine surgery, can have a profound improvement in a person’s quality of life. While it is always possible that complications can happen, the field of spine surgery has advanced to the point where most spine surgeries are reliable and reproducible. Dr. Shibayama takes the time to review your symptoms and imaging findings to ensure that you are an appropriate candidate for spine surgery and that there is an excellent chance that you will improve after surgery.
Spinal deformities and spondylolistheses are conditions which indicate instability of the vertebrae of the spine. In order to surgically correct these problems, screws and rods are necessary to provide the stability to the bones to allow them to fuse. If screws and rods are necessary for your spinal condition, then any surgery that is less than that will not produce a good outcome.
Many spine problems and conditions can be successfully treated non-operatively. Matt has trained under Dr. Shibayama for many years, working very closely with him, to provide the appropriate non-operative treatment for all spinal conditions. Because of this, Matt makes the same clinical decisions as Dr. Shibayama would, and if there is ever a question, Matt will consult with Dr. Shibayama for the correct course of action. If it comes to the point where spine surgery becomes necessary, Matt will get patients to Dr. Shibayama quickly, after all non-operative measures have failed. This allows Dr. Shibayama and Matt to provide the most effective and efficient care for all of our patients.