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Why a Spine Center?

Many surgeons and other specialists treat spine conditions. So why come to a spine center?

The Right Players on the Team

When patients come to a comprehensive spine center, they benefit from being part of a multidisciplinary team focused on providing care that is customized and convenient. To deliver optimal care, the team should include members from neurosurgery, orthopaedics, physiatry, pain management, physical therapy and radiology. The team works best if it is part of a larger system that provides access to other specialists as needed.

Outstanding Care

A spine center that includes experts from a variety of disciplines - who all specialize in spine problems - is well-positioned to deliver outstanding care for several reasons:

  • Group decision-making can improve patient care.

    Research has shown that when doctors collaborate, patients get excellent care, because group members combine expertise, challenge each other's perspectives, and explore more alternatives. This has long been recognized in fields such as cancer care, where treatment teams involve many specialties. Today, many different clinical problems are treated using this approach, with good results for patients.
  • Spine centers can sort through the complexity of spine conditions.

    Patients and their doctors may not know exactly which specialists they need to see, because spine conditions can be complex. Spine centers are set up to determine what is needed and to bring the right type of specialty evaluation and care to each patient. For example, deciding whether surgery is needed for a particular spine problem can be difficult. With the involvement of a team of experts at a spine center, you are more likely to have the information you need to make a choice that will be right for you.
  • Spine centers provide convenience and continuity.

    Most experts agree that 85 to 90 percent of patients who seek care for neck or back problems should be treated without surgery. A careful approach to spine care may involve a patient trying several nonsurgical options and seeing several specialists, with some patients ultimately choosing surgery. At a spine center, the process can be coordinated within a single system and often a single setting, and specialists stay in synch with each other so that patients don't have to "start over."

Please talk with your doctor about this information, and about any other information you have heard or read about spine care. Make a list of questions and be sure you understand the treatment approach being recommended for you.

Contact Information

Spine Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Shapiro Clinical Center, Second Floor
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617-754-9000
spinecenter@bidmc.harvard.edu

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