I need to find a great spine specialist near me, where do I begin?
We get it. The thought of undergoing neck or spine surgery can be pretty scary. You want to find the best doctor for you but there are so many options to consider. What steps can you take to home in on the right spine surgeon for you?
Tip #1: Get help narrowing down your search.
Instead of researching dozens of spine specialists yourself work with an organization that will do some of the legwork for you. For example, at Texas Health Center for Diagnostics and Surgery, patients are paired with a patient navigator who helps the patient determine which medical staff member would suit him or her best. From there, they help to narrow down the patient’s list of options based on various factors.
We have more than 30 physicians on our medical staff who specialize in orthopedics and spine treatment in North Texas. Instead of contacting all 30 doctors yourself and asking each one the same questions over and over again, you only need to cover those questions with the patient navigator once. Based on your needs—the specific spine condition, surgeon’s availability, location, insurance coverage, personality, etc.—the navigator will recommend two or three doctors who best fit your needs. They will then schedule your appointment, and can even arrange for you get a second opinion, which is something we strongly recommend.
Tip #2: Find out if the spine specialist is licensed, fellowship trained and board certified.
Obviously, if you’re going to allow someone to perform surgery on your neck or spine, you want to make sure that physician is licensed to perform medicine in your state. In the state of Texas, the Texas Medical Board website allows you to search by the doctor’s last name to find out license status (when license was issued, any restrictions, malpractice claims, etc.), practice information and more.
It’s also important to consider whether the physician has been fellowship trained. Along with medical school and residency, doctors also have the option to undergo an additional year of specialized training known as a fellowship.
During that year, the physician trains in a specialty area of his or her choosing. For example, a doctor who studied orthopedics in medical school could focus on a specific body part during that fellowship—knee, ankle, wrist, spine and so on. There are also many subspecialties of the spine, i.e., neck vs. lower back, degenerative disc disease, artificial disc replacement, scoliosis, spine tumors, complex spine revisions and others.
Board certification, where the doctor passes a test in their area of specialization, is also important. Keep in mind, a terrific surgeon who just finished his or her fellowship won’t be eligible to take their boards until one year after that training is finished. So there are some cases where board certification isn’t always necessary.
Tip #3: Look for a spine specialist who operates at a facility experienced in spine surgery.
If you’re trying to find a great spine specialist near you, it’s important that the hospital you go to is experienced in taking care of spine surgery patients. Another important factor to consider is whether or not the team supporting the surgeon also specializes in the surgery or procedure you need. At Texas Health Center for Diagnostics and Surgery, we have a teams dedicated to artificial disc replacement surgery as well as other spine procedures.
Spine treatment can be complicated. At Texas Health Center for Diagnostics & Surgery, we understand that. Our navigator can help patients find care for spine and orthopedic conditions as well as several other specialties. Everybody involved in supporting the patient before, during and after surgery plays a vital role. Whether it’s the patient navigator or the front desk person who greets you at your appointments or the nurse in the OR who specializes in spine procedures, every person involved plays an important role.
Tip #4: Choose a spine specialist you trust.
When you’re looking for a spine surgeon, finding someone who specializes in the type of procedure or treatment you need clearly should be a top priority. At the same time, finding a doctor you trust is equally important.
Our navigators can help point you in the right direction, and will do everything they can to place you with a doctor who is most appropriate for you. But at the end of day, it’s all about how you connect with the doctor, and it’s up to you to decide if that doctor is right for you.
You don’t need to go at it alone
If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, you can count on the team at Texas Health Center for Diagnostics and Surgery to guide you through your spine care journey.
Contact us at 972-543-1250 to launch your search for a spine specialist today.