Who is a candidate for spine surgery?

Dhruv B. Pateder, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Spinal surgery isn't necessary for the vast majority of patients, says Dhruv Pateder, MD, from Reston Hospital Center. Watch this video to learn more.
Kevin Boyer, MD
Neurosurgery
Candidacy for spine surgery is subjective. Watch this video with Kevin Boyer, MD from Blake Medical Center to learn what makes someone viable for spine surgery.
Michael A. King, MD
Neurosurgery
The ideal candidate for spinal surgery is a patient with consistent pain, numbness and tingling, and those who have tried non-surgical solutions, says Michael King, MD, from Blake Medical Center. Watch this video to learn more,
In this video, Rick Placide, MD from Chippenham Hospital, shares who would make a good candidate for spinal surgery.
For those with back problems, surgery isn't an automatic answer, says Mark Myers, MD, spine surgeon at Frankfort Medical Center. Watch as he explains alternative treatments--and when spinal surgery is a necessity.
Luke Macyszyn, MD
Neurosurgery
The most common candidates for spine surgery are those who have pain that spreads (or radiates) down the arms or legs. Such pain may be the result of a herniated disk or degenerative disease that causes nerve or spinal cord compression. Sometimes, the pain is due to a benign (noncancerous) tumor. Before spine surgery is considered, you must have already thoroughly tried conservative measures such as physical therapy, nonsteroidal pain medication, injections, and massage. Frequently, these treatments relieve symptoms and surgery is not required. You doctor may say you are a candidate for spine surgery if your pain continues despite these interventions or if you have signs of muscle weakness.
Gregory P. Gebauer, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
A variety of spinal issues qualifies a candidate for spinal surgery, says Gregory Gebauer, MD, with Fawcett Memorial Hospital. Watch this video to learn about how different symptoms require different surgeries. 
Constantine A. Toumbis, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
The typical candidate for spine surgery is a patient who has pain and typically a loss of function. Watch this video to learn more about spine surgery from Constantine Toumbis, MD at Citrus Memorial Hospital.
Your doctor will consider many factors before determining if you’re a candidate for spinal surgery. One consideration is whether non-surgical treatments, such as physical therapy, medications and steroid injections, can help you avoid surgery.

If non-surgical methods do not help reduce or relieve pain or numbness associated with your condition, surgery may be a good option.

Medical imaging tests, such as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), will accurately diagnose the specific condition. These tests, combined with your symptoms, will help your doctor focus on the best treatment. Generally, people with chronic or recurring back problems who have not responded well to therapy are candidates for surgery, but every patient and situation is unique. It is up to you and your doctor to decide if spine surgery is the right option.
Gerald M. Silverman
Chiropractic Medicine
The most important factor in predicating a favorable surgical outcome is making sure you are the right patient for the procedure. Spinal surgery is most effective for people who have no neck or back pain but have constant radiating pain into an extremity. Surgery is never a reasonable treatment option for neck or back pain if you do not have radiating symptoms. You should wait to consider surgery until the extremity pain becomes almost unbearable or you have a noticeable loss of function. Fortunately, recent advances in arthroscopic surgery make this a safer and more effective option than it was a few years ago.
Your Miraculous Back: A Step-By-Step Guide to Relieving Neck & Back Pain

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Your Miraculous Back: A Step-By-Step Guide to Relieving Neck & Back Pain

Many of us complain about our 'bad back,' but this book argues that our backs are, without exception, amazing examples of bioengineering, capable of dramatic feats of strength, flexibility, and...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.