A good spine surgeon can make a huge difference in the outcome of your spinal surgery. But the question is, how do you find a good surgeon? There are many newly trained orthopedic spine surgeons out there who tend to provide information about the high quality of services they offer, but we see the number of failed back surgery patients today continuing to be inordinately high.

This is why it is more than important not to take the decision of choosing an orthopedic spine surgeon lightly. Here few actionable tips that can help you pick the right spine surgeon.

1. Experience

Experience is the most important quality you must consider before you choose a spine surgeon. But it is not just about the most years a surgeon has under his or her belt, no; You must do some research about the orthopedic spine surgeon educational backgrounds as well as data you can retrieve online to show that he is well qualified. 

Never hesitate to ask the surgeon how many procedures he or she has performed and if they can refer you to some of their former patients, this will put you in a better position. Don’t just look at the results of former patients, consider the trend, rather than an isolated experience, this way, you will make a sound decision.

Another good indication a qualified orthopedic spine surgeon is where they practice. Some reputable spine surgeons are licensed in different states. An experienced surgeon is often licensed in one or more states - mostly states that are popular epicenters of surgery and medical services. For instance, a surgeon is licensed to practice spine surgery in New Jersey and New York probably has greater experience that a orthopedic surgeon who practices in North Dakota.

2. Relevant Knowledge of New Spine Surgery Procedures

A surgeon may be extremely talented on his or her procedure and with years of experience, but if he or she lacks knowledge about new procedures, you may need to reconsider your options. For instance, traditionally, spine surgery was done as 'open surgery’, this simply means that the areas being operated were opened with a long incision to allow a surgeon to access and view the anatomy.

However, today the technological advances have eliminated such method. Techniques such as minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) techniques are what many spine surgeon are using today; it doesn’t involve long incision which helps avoid significant damage to muscles around the spine. There are quite a number of minimally invasive spine techniques available, as well as other cutting edge procedures like spinal navigation technology and much more. Always choose an orthopedic surgeon/spine surgeon who uses these techniques.

3. A Spine Surgeon Who Only Sees "Surgical Patients"

When considering spine surgery, you must keep in mind that spine surgery is an elective procedure; there are only a few circumstances when spine injury is considered as absolute essential. So, if you go to an orthopedic surgeon who only sees you as a surgical patient, then you may need to reconsider your shopping options.

The role of a good surgeon is to educate, as he or she assist you with the ranges of option for you. He or she should clearly describe to you what is possible, and what is not as well as informing you about the risk associated with the procedure and the potential benefits. When trying to find a spine surgeon who can truly trust, always choose an orthopedic spine surgeon who is helpful with information you require whether he or she will proceed with the surgery or not.

You can gather information about a good surgeon from reliable sources such as from other reliable doctors, from family and friends who have similar experiences to yours. If you pinpoint an orthopedic surgeon/spine surgeon, and you happen to ask or raise a concern, and he or she doesn’t answer questions to your liking or is doesn’t seem to care, you may need to look for other options.