Thursday, April 14, 2016

So You Want to Become a Spine Surgeon?

In its very essence, spine surgeons (or otherwise known as orthopedic surgeons) are the medical professionals that have the license to operate patients suffering from musculoskeletal problems caused either by sport injuries, accidents, trauma and all spine related disorders.
Become a Spine Surgeon


Aside from performing surgery, spinal surgeons also conduct physical examinations, follow-up visits and review charts. These spine specialists are required to stand for a long period of time and they have to be ready to perform surgery on an emergency situation.

There is a great pressure that falls under a spine surgeon in the operating room which is why it is crucial that he or she remains focused and calm while on duty. However, the rewards of becoming a spine surgeon can be massively great. Learn more.

Career Requirements to Become a Spinal Surgeon

Below are some of the requirements to pursue a career as a spinal surgeon:

  • Degree Level: Professional doctoral Degree 
  • Name: Medical Degree, M.D. 
  •  Licensure or Certification: Medical doctors have to earn their license by the state, specialty certification can also be gained 
  • Experience: 
  • Orthopedic residency 
  • Key Skills: Strong organizational and communications skills; excellent manual dexterity Salary (Mean annual wage): $240,440 

 Sources: O*net Online and BLS (or U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

The Step By Step Guide on How to Become a Spine Surgeon

Step 1: Get a Bachelor’s Degree

Students interested in becoming a doctor must take a major that is highly concentrated with the branches of science. You have to take courses in chemistry, anatomy, biology, physics and physiology. All of the courses mentioned are a requirement for medical school admittance but they would deem useful as it prepares you for the MCAT or the Medical College Admissions Test.

Success Tip: Medical school is very competitive and everyone is looking out for any advantage to get accepted. Gain experience by volunteering on a hospital's spine surgery team or clinic to have a higher chance of getting admitted to your chosen medical school.

Step 2: Enroll to Your Chosen Medical School

The first two years of your 4-year program for medical school would be spent in labs and classrooms to receive instruction on physiology, microbiology, pharmacology and anatomy. The final years would be clinical rotations on your medical specialty.

Success Tip: Perform well on your MCAT. The result of your MCAT would be a part of your medical school admission so it is crucial that you perform well.

Step 3: Ace or Pass the Licensing Examination

You now need to pass the Medical Licensing Examination. It is a three part exam that would assess whether you understand all the scientific principles needed within your practice. It would also gauge your patient care skills and ability in working on an ambulatory setting.

Success Tip: Obtain practice materials and ask help from other professionals at reputable spine centers and spine institutes, such as this reputable spine surgery center in New Jersey.

Step 4: Complete Your Residency

You would have to take a 5-year commitment for your spine surgery residency program. It will give you a chance to experience all the surgical rotations from general surgery to the emergency room.

Further rotations will also be offered for your subspecialty like orthopedic or cardiovascular surgery. You can also look to specialize in specific areas of spine surgery, such as ankylosing spondylitis spine surgery treatment or adult scoliosis treatment. As soon as you gain enough experience, you would be given additional responsibilities and focus more on your specialty program.

Step 5: Obtain Your Specialty Certification

The American Board of Orthopedic Surgery is the one tasked to offer specialty certifications to orthopedic surgeons. The specialty certifications available are in sports medicine, spine, trauma, rehabilitation, shoulder and elbows, and joint replacement. You need to gain experience in your specialty, pass a written exam and obtain an endorsement to earn the certification.

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