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Spine surgery done the “classic” way is traditionally done with an open approach, meaning that the surgical area being operated on is opened with a long incision to allow full view and access to the anatomy by the surgeon. In the past recent years, there have been advances in technology that have allowed spinal conditions to be treated with the minimally invasive spinal surgery (MISS) approach.Dr. Brusovanik Helps CBS4's Eliott Rodriguez Without Surgery 2
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Dr. Brusovanik always attempts to help patients without surgery, but when surgery is indicated, his way of performing surgery minimizes pain and speeds recovery.Dr. Brusovanik from Miami Back & Neck Specialists helps Dr. Delisa Duncanson MD text
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10 Best Spine Surgeons in 2022 for Back or Neck Pain

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How do you choose the best spine surgeon? As you are wondering how to finally correct the problem about your back and neck pain, it’s common to ask the question, “Where do I find the best spine surgeon to do the job?”

Frequently, we go to a spine surgeon that was recommended by your primary care doctor. Others may find the best spine surgeon as recommended by a friend, but in 2022, to find the best spine surgeon for minimally invasive spine surgery, there are new ways. It is difficult to pinpoint what exactly makes the best spine surgeon; however, the following is a list of 10 important indicators to look for.

#1 Spine Surgeon’s History

It’s important to look at the doctor’s history. The best spine surgeon will be someone who won’t have a significant number of lawsuits or complaints against him or her. In order to determine if your surgeon has been involved in any lawsuits or complaints check your states’ licensing website. This information will be easily accessible. Dr. Brusovanik has had no lawsuits against him. He believes that being completely up front with his patients is one of the main corner stones of the doctor patient relationship. Communication between the patient and the doctor is vital for a few reasons. After surgery, if there are still some complaints, it is important for the doctor to know about them to make sure that it is not a sign of something bad happening. On the other hand, it is important for the patients to feel like they can reach out to the doctor in case they have any questions or issues. Surgery is like a battle and the team must include excellent communication between the doctor, the patient and the family.

#2 Practice Location

The best spine surgeon is not the one who has changed location year after year, which raises a significant red flag. Established docs have a set practice with the set staff that allows them to produce good and reliable results. Dr. Brusovanik has been in the same location for years and years. The Miami community has adopted him as the go to guy for back and neck pain. His process is well established and even though he is known around the world, with multiple office locations, everyone knows that he can be found in Miami, at the same address, 2800 Biscayne Blvd, suite 1010

#3 Doctor’s Availability

I would want to make sure that this spine surgeon is available to me before surgery, as after surgery when I really need him there for me if I have a complication. As your doctor about complications, ask him all the complicat3d questions. If your doctor gets uncomfortable addressing difficult topics like complications before surgery, you don’t want to be stuck looking for him or her after surgery if there is a problem. Picking a doctor is like picking your team for battle. The best behavior is before surgery and if you pick up a red flag early on, run and find another doctor.

#4 Training

The best spine surgeon is well trained. It is important to look at the places where your potential surgeon had done his training. That’s not the most important piece of evidence. Even the best institutions in the country produce potentially uncaring doctors and even doctors with less than great hands. Don’t be overly impressed with names of th4 schools. Brusovanik learned spine surgery at Duke university but even Duke university has produced surgeons that are not top notch. I would focus on specific fame of the university as it pertains to the operation that you are contemplating. For example, Duke has an amazing spine surgery department that specializes in minimally invasive surgery. On other hand, a famous school like Harvard, does not have a minimally invasive department so their doctors don’t have as good a chance at becoming top notch minimally invasive spine surgeons.

#5 Patience

The best spine surgeon is going to take his time to figure out your diagnosis. A diagnosis does not mean “operate”. A diagnosis means an extensive process of making sure that the things that are less than normal on the imaging are indeed correlated with your pain. A good way to correlate MRI findings and the patient ‘s pain is via diagnostic spinal injections. If an injection helps with pain, then the location of the injection confirms the source of their pain. If the relief is great but doesn’t last, then one can assume that after surgery at the dame level, the pain will be gone. Brusovanik would not operate unless certain that the pain will be gone, and he uses these carefully placed injections to make sure so before surgery.

#6 Considers All Options

The best spine surgeon is not the one who is going to rush to surgery but on the contrary will try everything possible to avoid surgery via effective conservative means. This is important because spine surgery has risks. Even minimally invasive surgery has risks, although lower then with classic open surgery. If your doctor tells you that doing injections is not worth it because it may not help, then he is not trying to help – he is trying to get you into surgery. Beware when your spine surgeon pushes you into surgery.

#7 Surgical Process

The best spine surgeon will not waste your time sending you for therapy before finding what is wrong with you. That is not a reasonable way to help a patient. It must start with a diagnosis and a confirmation of the diagnosis. Imaging, exam and a conversation is what is required to find a diagnosis. To confirm one’s diagnosis, properly placed injections are ordered. Communication between the doctor and the patient is very important after the injection to make sure that the injection did indeed help and how much.

#8 Past Patient Experience

When I was choosing a doctor for my mom, I spent a lot of time talking to the staff in the operating room, and I asked whether they would be okay letting this surgeon operate on themselves or their family members? I understand that that may not be a method that’s accessible to all, but Google reviews are a good sample of doctor’s patients. The best spine surgeon is going to have a vast majority of positive reviews and I would make sure that these reviews are real, read the good and the bad ones to make sure that this spine surgeon is indeed someone who is well-liked by his patients. Reviews can be altered so focus on those where the reviews cannot be affected – for example – google. Other companies like health graders, vitals and Zocdoc have been known to alter the reviews so beware. Brusovanik has the highest reviews on google compared to all other local spine surgeons.

#9 Expertise

It is important to know whether your spine surgeon is the best at the particular surgery that he or she is going to perform. Naturally, we become excellent at things that we do often. If you are looking for someone to revise a previously failed bad surgery because of continued back pain or if you’re looking to fix a neck problem that was previously operated on by another doctor, it’s important to know that your surgeon is well-versed in revision spine surgery. Don’t be shy to ask how many surgeries of one type or another he has performed. Ask him about the complication rate. A well versed and experienced surgeon should be able to alleviate those concerns and if he gets uncomfortable with these questions., he is not the doc for you.

#10 Dealing with Complications

The last thing to do is to ask your surgeon about his complications. If you find that your surgeon is uncomfortable discussing complications, then he or she is far from the best spine surgeon. Every doctor and every surgeon has complications and you must be comfortable that if you have a complication, your surgeon is going to be there to take care of you and to make sure that you recover, and all the possible means of getting through this complication will be utilized. Therefore, if your spine surgeon tells you about his complications and explains to you how he helped his patients get through those issues, then he very well may be the best spine surgeon.

The 10 Best Spine Surgeons

Below is the list of the doctors who have had the experience, testament of time, as well as the surgeons who fulfilled the criteria that are mentioned above. This list was composed by aggregating doctor experience as well as patient experience. There have been many studies on how to select the best doctors. Use your best judgement and if ever in doubt, ger a second opinion. I hope this list helps guide you in the process of finding the best doctor to help you with your back and neck pain.

#1 Dr. Georgiy Brusovanik

Dr. Georgiy Brusovanik, MD is a minimally invasive orthopedic spine surgeon based in Miami, Florida. He trained at Duke university with both orthopedic and neurosurgical faculty. He specializes in helping patients with back and neck pain.

Dr. Brusovanik is well known locally and internationally. He has helped numerous professional and Olympic athletes, executives and celebrities. He always attempts to help patients without surgery, but when surgery is indicated, his way of performing surgery minimizes pain and speeds recovery.

Born in Moscow, Dr. Brusovanik moved to Miami in 1992. He matriculated from University of Miami and has called Miami home for many years. He lives on Miami Beach with his wife and daughter. He speaks English, Spanish and Russian.

Dr. Brusovanik treats patients not only in the United States from his Miami location, but from across the world including Venezuela, Columbia, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Trinidad, Brazil, Ecuador, St. Thomas, British Virgin Islands, Argentina, Norway, and Nigeria.

#2 Alexander Vaccaro

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Dr. Vaccaro graduated Summa Cum Laude from Boston College in 1983 with a B.S. in Biology. He received his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine. He completed a year of Surgical Internship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA and completed his Orthopaedic Surgery Residency at Thomas Jefferson University where he graduated in 1992.

Dr. Vaccaro completed a Spine Fellowship at the University of San Diego, CA. In 2007, Dr. Vaccaro earned a PhD in the field of Spinal Trauma. In 2015, Dr. Vaccaro received his MBA (Master of Business Administration) from Temple University’s Fox School of Business in Philadelphia, PA and graduated with honors.Dr. Vaccaro has served as the president of Rothman Orthopaedics since 2014 and is the Richard H. Rothman Professor and Chairman in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Professor of Neurosurgery at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Learn More

#3 Greg Anderson

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Dr. Anderson is a board certified Orthopaedic Surgeon with fellowship training in spinal surgery. He specializes in minimally invasive approaches to spinal surgery. He completed his residency training at the University of California in Irvine and his fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University. Prior to joining the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, he served as the Chief of Orthopaedics at the Langley Air Force Base and Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia. Learn More

#4 Frank Eismont

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Dr. Frank J. Eismont is an orthopedist in Miami, Florida and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including University of Miami Hospital and Clinics-UHealth Tower and Jackson Health System-Miami. He received his medical degree from University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and has been in practice for more than 20 years. Learn More

#5 Chris Brown

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Dr. Chris Brown is an orthopaedic specialist and spine surgeon, he is committed to providing the best possible outcome for his patients with the least invasive surgery possible. He treats patients using the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques. He is certified with the American Board of Orthopaedics. He completed his Fellowship at Emory University and his Residency at Duke University. Learn More

#6 William Richardson

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Dr. William Richardson, MD is a Orthopedic Surgery Specialist in Durham, NC and has over 45 years of experience in the medical field. Dr. Richardson has more experience with Spine Disorders & Surgical Procedures than other specialists in his area. He graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School Of The Medical College Of Hampton Roads medical school in 1977. He is affiliated with Duke University Hospital. Learn More

#7 Jens Chapman

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Dr. Jens Chapman, MD is an Orthopedic Surgery Specialist in Seattle, WA. He is affiliated with Swedish Cherry Hill Campus. Dr. Chapman is keen on understanding the underlying pathology as clearly as possible and finding the best possible non-operative or surgical options for patients to be able to achieve a lasting, improved quality of life. Learn More

#8 Carlo Bellabarba

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Dr. Carlo Bellabarba is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Following his training in Orthopedic Surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois he completed a Trauma Fellowship at Tampa General Hospital and then a Spine Fellowship at Northwestern University. He is currently a Professor at University of Washington in the Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery departments. Learn More

#9 Todd Albert

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Dr. Todd J. Albert is Surgeon-in-Chief Emeritus at Hospital for Special Surgery. He is a Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Albert specializes in the field of orthopedic spine surgery focusing on disorders of the cervical spine. He has an interest in minimally invasive surgical techniques and image-guided technologies in the management of spinal disorders.

He serves on the boards of several scholarly journals and is Past President of The Cervical Spine Research Society and President of the Scoliosis Research Society. Dr. Albert is the author of seven books and more than 40 book chapters, and has published over 375 peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed articles. He has presented his research both nationally and internationally, and served as chairman at numerous courses. Learn More

#10 Scott Boden

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During his fellowship at Case Western Reserve Hospital in Cleveland, Dr. Boden trained with one of the founding fathers of modern spine surgery, Dr. Henry Bohlman. A primary original researcher on bone growth factor development and spine fusion technology, Dr. Boden is also an internationally renowned lecturer and teacher and the driving force behind the Emory Orthopedics and Spine Hospital (EUOSH). Learn More