The Snake Oil in Spine Surgery: One Spine Surgeon's Perspective

September 11, 2014 7:27 PM

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Several weeks ago, I received a call from a prospective patient outside the country who had scheduled a telephone consultation with me. This is a helpful, but limited way, for the patient to learn about the doctor, and vice versa; especially prior to traveling for their care. He had sent me an MRI, a few notes, and several paragraphs about his condition. He was a bright gentleman, working as an architect overseas. He had two prior surgeries on the same area of his cervical spine.

Prior to contacting my office, he had seen two spine practices in his country, and sent his MRI on CD to three centers in the USA. The only spine surgeon he saw recommended a multi-level fusion. The nurse practitioner he saw in the other practice in his country recommended a single level fusion. All...

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