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Best back surgeon in Edinburgh – who and how to choose.

By |2019-04-04T08:12:33+00:00March 18th, 2019|Sciatica, Treatments that Work|0 Comments

If you’re looking for the best back surgeon in Edinburgh, I think I can help.  I’ve been an Edinburgh osteopath for 28 years.  I’ve written two books on lower back pain, and created an online course for lower back pain. I have devoted the better part of my career to lower back pain and sciatica treatment.  Below are a few pointers…

Don’t go on a friend’s recommendation to find the best back surgeon

Unless your friend is in the healthcare professions, he/she is probably not well-enough qualified to comment.  Even if he/she had a good experience with that back surgeon, this is what we call “n=1”.  That means this is a sample size of 1.  If the two possible outcomes were “good” and “bad”, then there’s a 50% chance of it being good.  That’s the same odds as flipping a coin. The other downside of going on a friend’s recommendation is that if it doesn’t work out as well as you’d expected, how are you going to feel towards that friend?

Orthopaedic or neuro – which kind of back surgeon?

This is an old question.  Spinal/back surgeons come from one of two backgrounds – orthopaedics or neurosurgery.  The simplistic thinking was that if a surgeon is OK to operate on brains, they’re probably OK for my spine.  On the other hand, orthopods start with the carpentry that is hip-replacement.  This is a gross over-simplification.  However, it may have been one of the reasons Mr Tom Russell a neurosurgeon speicalising in complex spinal surgery in Edinburgh, was so popular with medical patients.  I knew a number of GPs who chose Mr Russell to perform their own back surgeries.  Alas, he has retired…

Will the surgeon talk to you openly?

I think open and easy communication is really important when it comes to selecting an adviser.  The best back surgeon in Edinburgh would certainly act in ad advisory role as well as a technical one.  So, it helps if you can get on with him/her.

Is the surgeon experienced AND insured?

To operate privately, your surgeon will have reached consultant level.  As a rough rule of thumb, I used to prefer specialists to be older than me.  As I get older that’s not a great rule any more.  Over 45 years of age will do me.  No private hospital would offer a surgeon theatre space without appropriate insurance.

Can you talk about pros and cons?

The best back surgeon in Edinburgh would also be open about the risks of surgery.  He or she should also be able to explain the degree of risks and likelihood of benefits in terms you can easily understand.

So who is the best back surgeon in Edinburgh?

Well, I guess it depends what you’re looking for and whether you agree with my judgment process or not.  Personally, if I needed the best back surgeon in Edinburgh, Mr Chris Adams would certainly be on my list.  He ticks all of the above boxes and he’s a nice bloke! This is the bit where I should declare any interests I have in recommending Chris.  I don’t have any financial ties to Chris, and I don’t socialise with him.  Although I’d like to, but I guess we’re both pretty busy people trying to be the best in our respective fields.

Alternative to back surgery

There is a time and a place for most things – including back surgery.  But if you’d like to avoid surgery, and you haven’t been to see me yet, book an appointment, and let’s see what we can do for you.

About the Author:

Clinic Director and Osteopath. Gavin graduated as a Gold Medallist in 1991 and is now a Vice Patron of the British School of Osteopathy. Co-author of “The Back Book” with Gavin Hastings OBE in 1996, he has an MSc in The Clinical Management of Pain from the University of Edinburgh, and is currently working on a new book. He's passionate about helping to move people as far from illness and pain as possible, and in January 2015 set himself the target of helping a million people get a better back.

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