We live in a time of specialization. A hundred years ago, there wasn’t as much of a need for specialization. There was a need for workers who would put in long hours of hard work to get the job done. Skills in one job were largely transferable to another job. In many ways, this was also true in medicine. We knew virtually nothing about medicine at the turn of the 19th century and so there were few specialties among physicians. Today we know so much about illnesses and how to treat them that physicians can specialize and sub-specialize in a plethora of fields. How much specialization does someone need to expertly perform neck surgery?
Generalists versus specialists
Medicine is made up of generalists and specialists for very good reasons. Generalists are excellent at understanding a wide array of disease processes. Specialists are excellent at knowing all facets of a narrow were scope of disease processes. General surgeons are great at treating a wide variety of common diseases, but leave most delicate work to specialists. Orthopedic surgery is certainly a surgical specialty of its own since it uses instruments and surgical approaches that are not found in any other surgical specialty. If surgery involves bones or joints, it should be performed by a surgeon who specializes in orthopedic surgery.
Specialists versus subspecialists
There is a distinction between surgeons who complete an orthopaedics residency and those who complete subspecialty fellowship training. Once one completes orthopaedics residency, that surgeon can replace knees, repair torn rotator cuffs, and perform spine surgery. However, the additional training of a spine surgery fellowship is where an orthopaedic surgeon truly hones their skill for surgery on the spine. While some orthopedic surgeons can successfully perform spine surgery, it really is the domain of the spine surgery specialist.
Is there neck surgery subspecialty?
There really is not a neck surgery subspecialty. Anyone who performs a spine surgery fellowship is more than capable of performing neck surgery, back surgery, or any surgery related to the spine. Some spine surgeons may do more neck surgeries in a year than others and even the best NJ neck surgeon is probably performing several lower back surgeries in a month. In other words, finding a surgeon who has performed the spine fellowship is the ideal qualification for neck surgery or any other surgery of the spine.