SPINE SURGERY is a unique specialty covering the surgical treatment of spine injury and disease. Spine Surgeons may enter the field from either Orthopedic Surgery or Neurosurgery. Orthopedic Surgeons first complete a 5-year residency in Orthopedics followed by a 1-year fellowship in Spine Surgery. Neurosurgeons must complete at least 7 years of Neurosurgery residency followed by a 1-year Spine Surgery fellowship. After completion of fellowship training, most Orthopedic Surgeons focus only on spine-related issues, while Neurosurgeons often operate on the brain and spinal cord as well. Regardless of their background training (Orthopedics or Neurosurgery), Spine Surgeons treat problems of the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral spine. Such problems may include neck and low back pain, disc herniation, spinal trauma (fractures), spinal tumors (spine and spinal cord), and scoliosis. Given the critically sensitive anatomy of the spine, spinal cord, and nerve roots, many Spine Surgeons rely upon sophisticated real-time imaging and computerized surgical navigation techniques to perform minimally invasive spinal surgery. Such techniques have revolutionized patient outcomes with shorter healing times and fewer complications.
Spine Surgery expert witnesses serve a valuable role in complex litigation when analyzing standard of care and evaluating harm and causation. For Spine Surgery experts addressing standard of care, some states require “same specialty” (Orthopedics or Neurosurgery) while others do not. For issues of harm and causation, the specialties are generally interchangeable. In terms of harm and causation, a top-tier Spine Surgery expert is an invaluable asset for educating the trier of fact on the existence, etiology, relevance, permanency, treatment, and prognosis of various spinal problems. These questions are common in spine trauma cases where injuries are often alleged to result in long-term complications, disability, and economic damages. Overall negligence claims against spine specialists (especially for lumbar surgery) are increasing in frequency, paralleling the increasing number of spine procedures that are performed on a yearly basis. Common claims include “wrong-level surgery,” cauda equina syndrome, dural tear / dural leak, vascular injuries, and new neurological deficits. Elite Medical Experts thrives on tough situations and has an extensive record of success in complex litigation involving Spine Surgery experts from the fields of Orthopedic Spine Surgery and Neurosurgical Spine Surgery.