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Neurologist vs Neurosurgeon?

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Old 11-01-2006, 07:18 PM   #1
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Cool Neurologist vs Neurosurgeon?

Someone recommended to me to see a neurologist before seeing a neurosurgeon. They said any kind of surgeon would always think in terms of surgery, but a neurologist would spend more time trying to accurately diagnose the problem. Any thoughts?

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Old 11-01-2006, 08:42 PM   #2
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Cool Re: Neurologist vs Neurosurgeon?

Looksee1, When I was referred to the surgeon she told me to try physical therapy 12 weeks. After all that treatment I was still in pain and stiff. I went back to see her and she sent me for a discogram. That diagnosed my herniated disc that didn't show up on MRI. I had anterior cervical decompression (with) fusion 2 1/2 months ago. It has helped alot, I'm still recovering but it looks positive. Good Luck painfulneck

Old 11-02-2006, 04:47 PM   #3
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Re: Neurologist vs Neurosurgeon?

A good neurosurgeon is looking for the best treatment for you. In fact any good doctor looks for the right treatment, not just an opportunity to operate. Most NS are very busy and finding a non-surgical treatment for a patient actually allows them to concentrate surgical services on those who really need it.

I saw a NS years ago and he told me I wasn't a surgical candidate yet (based on my age and that I had not tried any other treatments) and suggested some non-invasive or less-invasive options first, and then see if they worked. I did Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI) through the Pain Management physician the NS sent me to and did some massage therapy. The ESI worked well for nearly 2 years and when they did not work when the pain came back, I then chose the surgical option.

A neurologist can certainly help with nerve pain or nerve disorders, but is not a surgeon. So, if anything, see one of each if it is applicable. I did see a neurologist early on who prescribed neurontin but when he saw the MRI results he said I should consult a neurosurgeon.

Incidentally, my surgery was done by an Orthopedic Spinal Surgeon who came highly recommended from my primary care doctor. He specializes in neck surgery (techniques from minimally invasive all the way to full surgical procedures).

C5-C7 ACDF 5/06 @ age 39
Rt thumb fusion '13. R&L thumb arthroplasty '12 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS' 11. Fusions: L5-S1('87), L4-S1('93), C5-C7('06), L3-S1('10), C4-C5('13). C5-C7 foraminotomy '08

Last edited by SpineAZ; 11-02-2006 at 04:48 PM.

Old 11-02-2006, 06:42 PM   #4
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Re: Neurologist vs Neurosurgeon?

The Neurosurgeon has all the skills of a Neurologist, but also does surgeries. So far, mine has tried to treat my latest problem with meds. It looks like I'll need surgery, but he did try conservative methods first.


Old 11-03-2006, 06:13 AM   #5
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Re: Neurologist vs Neurosurgeon?

Thanks all. I am going to see the surgeon next week, and will have a steroid injection Wednesday. Can't wait!

Old 11-03-2006, 06:16 AM   #6
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Re: Neurologist vs Neurosurgeon?

i would tell you that if there is ANY chance or possibility that you may need a surgery at some point down the road,go directly to a good neurosurgeon.the only thing i would see a neurologist for is to treat some sort of headache issues,really. a good NS is just so much better informed and nowledgeable about the inner workings of the c spine and the brain that just cannot compare to the more limited knowledge and no experience in actually being inside of the neck,c spine and brain.i have had to see both neurologists and neurosuregons over the years for seperate problems and as good as my neurologist was,my last neurosurgeon was just soo much better informed about my c spine problems.i would just see the NS and skip the neurologist completely,really.this also establishes an earlier relationship with this particular NS who may be doing surgery on you at some point.believe me,you will get much better ongoing care from an established NS patient relationship than you would if you were suddenly referred to one and only actually met him for the first time at your surgical consult then in the OR.

there are simply no good reasons not to just see the NS right from the start.what exactly is your medical issue that you need to see a neuro for?an injury of some sort or just a deterioration,and a time thing?i would just take the advice that you have been given here by all the above posters.we have been thru this crap before.I wish you luck.marcia
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

Old 11-03-2006, 09:45 AM   #7
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Re: Neurologist vs Neurosurgeon?

Thanks for the insight. I have a herniation at C5-C6 abutting the spinal cord, severe narrowing, numbness/tingling, pain, etc. The usual that everyone else on this board has.

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