Orthopaedic Surgeon vs. Neurosurgeon

Orthopaedic Surgeon vs. Neurosurgeon for Spine Surgery

Orthopaedic Surgeon vs. Neurosurgeon for Spine Surgery

March 13, 2023

With the time and technology, medical field has undergone major changes in terms of diagnostic measures, operative and non-operative approach leading to advanced medical techniques like precision medicine, gene editing, artificial intelligence, stem cell therapy, artificial disc replacement, robotic assisted surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery and lot more. Advancement has led to the path of much diversified and specialized medical fields.

Spine surgery is a specialised field that involves the diagnosis, treatment and surgical management of conditions that affect the spine and surrounding structures. Spine surgeons play a crucial role in providing both surgical and non-surgical treatments to help patient achieve better spine health and overall quality of life. There are various sub-specialties within the spine surgery, including Orthopaedic spine surgery, Neuro spine surgery, Pediatric spine surgery, Spinal Oncology, Spine deformity surgery, and minimally invasive spine surgery.

Spine surgery is a complex medical procedure which requires specialised knowledge and expertise. While both orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons can perform the spine surgery, there are differences in their training, experience and approach to the surgery depending on the different spine deformity or injury. The experience and expertise of the surgeon are important factors to consider while choosing a surgeon for spine surgery. Both types of surgeons have a stake in the spine since it serves as the junction between the neurological system and the musculoskeletal.

It is crucial to understand that sophisticated spine surgery is performed by both neurosurgeons and orthopaedic surgeons. These specialisations are combined in the newly developing specialty of “spinal surgery”.

Neurosurgeons for Spine Surgery:

Neuro spine surgeons are medical doctors who specialise in the diagnosis, treatment and surgical management of conditions that affect the nervous system, including the spine, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. They are trained to diagnose and treat conditions such as brain tumors, head injuries, spinal cord compression, herniated discs spinal stenosis and traumatic spinal injuries. Neuro surgeons who specialize in the spine surgery undergo additional training and subspecialty course in the domain that focusses on the spine conditions.

The neuro spine surgeons also treat conditions like stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injuries. During the training period, they gain expertise in the latest surgical techniques including the microsurgery and minimally invasive surgery as well as non-surgical treatments.

Neuro spine surgeons work closely with other specialists, including neurologists, pain management physicians, oncologists and physical therapists to provide the comprehensive approach to patient care.

Orthopaedic Surgeons for Spine Surgery:

Orthopaedic spine surgeon is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the spine, including vertebrae, discs, spinal cord and surrounding ligaments and muscles.

They perform variety of spine surgeries such as spinal fusion, laminectomy, and discectomy. Orthopaedic surgeons who specialise in the spine surgery focusses on the structural issues of the spine, such as alignment and stability, and may use instrumentation such as rods, screw and cages to correct the issue. They are trained in both surgical and non-surgical treatment of conditions such as herniated disc, degenerative disc diseases, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, spinal deformities to alleviate pain and restore function. They opt for the minimally invasive techniques for spine surgery, which lead to less pain and quicker recovery.

Orthopaedic Surgeon and Neurosurgeon for Spine Surgery

The main difference between the orthopaedic spine surgeon and neuro spine surgeon is their training and focus on the area of treatment.

Neurosurgeons who perform spine surgery opt a different approach than the orthopaedic surgeons. Neurosurgeons focus mainly on nerves and spinal cord and may use the techniques such as microdisectomy and laminotomy to decompress the nerves and treat conditions like spinal cord tumors and vascular malformations whereas orthosurgeons focus mainly on structural issues of the spine and related muscles and ligaments.

While both the orthopaedic spine surgeon and neuro spine surgeon perform the similar surgeries such as spinal fusion, laminectomy and discectomy, their training and approach may differ based on their specialty. Orthopaedic spine surgeons may approach spine surgeries from a biomechanical perspective while neuro spine surgeons may focus more on the neurological aspects of spine surgery.

It is prime responsibility of a spine surgeon to utilize the latest technologies and techniques that includes minimally invasive surgery to provide the most effective treatment options for their patients. In some cases, both the specialists work together as part of a multidisciplinary team to provide the best possible care.

How to become a Spine Surgeon in India?

After completing grade 12th with the PCB stream, becoming a spine surgeon in India typically involves the following steps:

    • Obtain a medical undergraduate degree: First, you will need to obtain a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree from a recognized medical college or university in India. This typically takes five and a half years to complete including one-year internship at a hospital or medical institution recognized by the Medical Council of India (MCI). For getting admission into medical college for MBBS degree, you will be mandatorily required to clear the NEET-UG entrance exam with the required cut off score and rank.
      Click here to read complete information regarding NEET-UG entrance examination.


    • Obtain a master’s degree: To become a spine surgeon, you have options to choose your PG specialty. You will need to clear the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-postgraduate (NEET-PG) or INI-CET entrance examination for admission to a MD/MS program in India. You can pursue a 3-year Master of Surgery (MS) degree in Orthopaedics or General Surgery.
      Click here to enroll in the MBBS courses online for NEET-PG preparation.
      You also have an option to pursue DNB course in Neurosurgery/Orthopaedics. For admission to DNB courses, you must clear the DNB-PDCET entrance examination with the required cut off and score.


    • Complete a Residency: After completing your master’s programme, you will need to complete a residency program in area of your PG expertise. This will provide you with the necessary clinical experience and training in the surgery specialty.


    • Obtain a super specialisation degree: After completing MS/DNB degree, you may need to further pursue the super specialisation in Neurosurgery (M.Ch) for pursuing a career as a spine surgeon. You have to successfully clear the NEET-SS entrance examination for admission to M.Ch courses.


    • Fellowship in Spine Surgery: After completing the residency of your respective medical course, you need to pursue a fellowship program in spine surgery to specialize in this field. Students who have earned a DNB, MD, MS, M.Ch, or DM in the relevant speciality are eligible for entry to the NBEMS fellowship programme. Anyone with a medical degree in DNB/MS Orthopaedics or DNB/M.Ch Neurosurgery who have passed the FET (Fellowship Entrance Exam) and meets the requirements for admission to fellowship programmes at the various NBE-accredited medical colleges, institutions, and hospitals in India is eligible to participate in the centralised counselling for the allocation of FNB Spine Surgery seats solely on the basis of merit and preference. There are many institutes in India which offer fellowship program in spine surgery.
      Click here to learn latest surgical techniques with the case-based spine surgery videos by the eminent surgeons.


    • Obtain your fellowship and License: Student who pass the Fellowship Exit Examination are recognised as Fellow of the National Board (FNB) or Fellow of the National Board – Post Doctoral (FNB-PD) at the NBEMS annual convocation.

Once you have received your certification and completed your education and training, you will need to obtain a license to practice as a spine surgeon in India. You will need to register with the Medical Council of India (MCI) or the respective state medical council in order to practice medicine in India.

As a spine surgeon, it is important to keep your knowledge and skills up to date by regularly attending conferences, seminars, and workshops on spine surgery. This will help you stay updated with the latest techniques and advancements in the field and latest surgical and non-surgical approaches.

It is highly important for the medical students to carefully choose their medical specialty and subspecialty. Medical professional pursuing the course or fellowship in neurosurgery or orthopaedics and is interested in the spine surgery specialty can enroll in online spine surgery courses 2023. These courses provide detailed real life case demonstrations of spine surgery.

Orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons may learn about the most recent methods and techniques in the field of spine surgery from the Ganga Videos on Spine Surgery course, a collection of 50 spine surgery videos. It includes minimally invasive and neurosurgical techniques, as well as treatments for spinal deformities, all carried out by renowned and skilled surgeons. The key feature of the course includes 10 hours of video lectures31 lecture notesover 60 benchmark trials, and 150 self-assessment questions.

This spine surgery online courses include video lectures that demonstrate operations together with the clinical information about the patient, pertinent images, a brief explanation of the process, the actual surgical procedure, potential problems, post-operative treatment, and follow-up.

Brief summaries of the important topics are discussed in the lectures to help the candidates. Multiple-choice questions that are given at the conclusion of each lecture allow applicants to gauge their level of comprehension of the subject. To improve students’ understanding, video lectures and study guides are supplemented with clinical research investigations and benchmark trials.

Overall, becoming a spine surgeon in India requires a significant amount of education and training and lot of hard work and patience, but it can be a rewarding career for those who are dedicated to help patients with spine-related conditions.

Related Courses