Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic Spine Specialist for Back Surgery?

When the option of spine surgery is brought up for those experiencing back pain or any number of spinal disorders, a question is usually asked on whether a neurosurgeon or a spine surgeon would be better. The two professions do have their similarities, and in truth, both are qualified to carry out spine surgery. However, what differences there are should be the deciding factors for future patients.


It used to be that neurosurgeons were the primary practitioners of spine surgery. This is because even though they are typically associated with issues associated with the brain, the brain has a very close relationship with the spinal cord, and that relationship makes up a large part of your nervous system (which is what may be causing the pain signals when something is off with your spine). There are still some neurosurgeons that specialize on spinal procedures, but nowadays, the majority of them focus on the brain. Those that have some education on the spine tend to focus on only the spinal cord dura, which is a membrane that surrounds the brain and the outer layer of your spinal cord.

Orthopedic Spine Specialists

Unlike neurosurgeons, orthopedic spine specialists tend to focus on the spinal cord and joints throughout the body. Sometimes, a spine specialists will focus on the spinal cord exclusively. A general rule of thumb to know is that orthopedic spine specialists, more often than not, are more qualified to treat spinal deformities like scoliosis, and joint pain like arthritis. When you are experiencing back pain that can’t seem to go away with methods like stretching, exercise, diet, and so on, usually the surgery or advice required is better suited for the orthopedic spine specialist.

At the end of the day, the type of surgeon that will be best for you depends on the condition you are facing. It’s best to understand what is causing your back pain, and receiving advice from a doctor who has years of experience and recognized expertise in their field. At the Spine Institue, Doctor Marc Cohen is an expert in spinal procedures, and is a recognized leader in minimally invasive micro spine surgery. If you are in the New Jersey area and are looking to alleviate your pain, contact us at the Spine Institute today.