Key Factors in Picking a Spine Doctor

By Saeid E. Aryan, DO

I’ve been practicing medicine for 10 years and have performed over 3000 surgical cases. I’m a board-certified neurosurgeon specializing in spine and brain surgeries and the founder and medical director of Axis Brain and Back Institute.

I’m commonly asked what I feel are the the key factors in picking a spine surgeon. And I feel they are experience, capabilities and bedside manner. Let me explain.


First, experience. A young surgeon might talk about the latest technology, but lack crucial in the moment judgement; where as an older surgeon might have the experience, but lack some of the recent advancements in medicine. The key is finding the right combination. You will want to find a surgeon who is actively participating in clinical research to stay at the forefront of new surgical developments. It’s finding a surgeon who thinks least invasive, most effective proven treatment. It’s finding a surgeon who is incorporating recent technologies such as neuronavigation and neurophysiological monitoring during spine surgery as well as having the experience to navigate any potential complications during surgery.

Secondly, you should understand the capabilities of the surgeon. You’ll find practices touting keywords such as stem cells and minimally invasive treatment, but is that all they can do? Do you want someone that only has one option at their disposal for treatment? Make sure you ask the question, am I a good candidate for minimally invasive surgery? You’ll want to find a doctor that can perform both the minimally invasive technologies in addition to the more complicated procedures. It’s the doctors that understand the merits of the full package that can present you with the most accurate options. After all, my commitment is to combine the least invasive with the most effective, proven treatment available.

And finally, you need to evaluate the doctor’s bedside manner. This is about how comfortable you are with the doctor, it’s how the doctor communicates and gains trust with the patient. Did they answer all of your questions? Do you feel rushed? Was the doctor preoccupied with their phone and incoming text messages? Same goes for the staff that surrounds the doctor. It’s key to find the doctor and his staff that make you feel comfortable.

While there are a number of factors, these three key areas — experience, capabilities and bedside manner — are crucial in picking the right surgeon.

If you were to select me as your surgeon, you will find my approach with each patient is to combine the least invasive with the most effective, proven treatment available. In some cases, it could be physical therapy or an injection. In last resort, we would recommend a surgical intervention. I will arm my patients with the knowledge and understanding needed to make the best decision for them to get back to what they love.

If you have further questions, give us a call and schedule a consultation to talk through your pain and what is limiting you from your daily activity. I look forward to meeting with you and figuring out the best approach to getting you back at it.

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