What to expect on your first appointment with an orthopedic spine surgeon

Impending spine surgery is enough to make anyone nervous. Feeling anxious prior to meeting with a surgeon — even for an initial consultation — is completely normal. To calm your nerves, it can be helpful to research the type of surgeon who will perform your operation and find out what you can expect during your first appointment.

What is an orthopedic spine surgeon?

First, let’s review what exactly an orthopedic spine surgeon does. Orthopedic spine surgeons, like general orthopedic surgeons, center their practice on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. Orthopedic spine surgeons, however, further specialize in the spine alone and may also perform spinal surgery as treatment for conditions unrelated to the musculoskeletal system, though this system is their main focus.

What happens during an initial exam with an orthopedic spine surgeon?

Your first meeting with your surgeon will serve as an opportunity for you to become more comfortable with who will be operating on you, and for them to gain a better understanding of your condition. To do so, your surgeon will likely ask you about:

  • Your symptoms
  • Your medical history
  • What doctors you’ve met with previously
  • Any treatment methods you’ve tried

In addition to a discussion about your condition, your surgeon will probably perform an initial exam and may order imaging tests such as an X-ray, an MRI or CT scan. It’s possible that your doctor will provide or confirm a diagnosis during this first meeting, though they may require additional time to come to an accurate decision. Either way, you can expect to schedule a follow-up appointment. If your surgeon feels ready to move forward with your procedure, you may schedule your surgery.

Minimally invasive spine surgery

The orthopedic spine surgeons and neurosurgeons at Laser Spine Institute perform minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery as a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery. We are proud to maintain a patient recommendation score of 98 out of 100 for our procedures.^ If you’re interested in learning more, please contact us. We would be happy to conduct a free MRI review* to determine whether you may be a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures.