Choosing your surgeon
Like anything in life, no two things are the same. Doing your research can help to ensure you find the best expert in the best place for you.
What to expect when you see a surgeon for CSM
Spine surgeons typically are certified in either neurosurgery or orthopaedic surgery. Increasingly, surgeons operating on CSM patients have undergone sub-specialist training in spinal surgery.
A surgeon dealing with cervical myelopathy is a highly specialized doctor. In most cases you will only be referred to a surgeon when the diagnosis has been established. Aim of the consultation is to establish 1) to what extent the symptoms are due to CSM, and 2) whether the disease will benefit from surgical treatment at that time. The consultation is likely to be very focussed.
Every patient is different with respect to the nature, length and severity of symptoms, the nature and severity of the cord compression, and the previous medical history. In some cases the surgeon will ask for further tests to reach a decision, in other cases a recommendation for or against surgery can be made during the initial appointment.
It is not uncommon that CSM is diagnosed as part of an rapid deterioration, potentially related to a fall. Under these circumstances, a referral should be made as soon as a diagnosis has been confirmed with adequate imaging. Increasingly, it is recognized that a rapid deterioration of symptoms warrants early surgery.
However, many questions with respect to the optimal treatment still remain unknown. Myelopathy.org needs YOUR help and support to address these.