Note From the Editor
AANS and CNS Endorse Bone and Joint Decade
NIAMS Funds Multi-center Study of Surgical vs. Non-surgical Treatment of Back Pain
Spectacular Program Planned for 2000 Spine Section Meeting
Mayfield Award Winners
Spine Section Seminars Planned for the 2000 AANS Annual Meeting
Changes in Spine Codes for CPT 2000
Application for Membership
1999 Spine Section Officers
In This Issue… AANS and CNS Endorse Bone and Joint Decade (2), NIAMS Funds Multicenter Study of Surgical vs. Non-surgical Treatment of Back Pain (3), Spectacular Program Planned for 2000 Spine Section Meeting (4), Changes in Spine Codes for CPT 2000 (6).
As the millennium approaches, it is essential that organized neurosurgery communicate to other physicians, and the lay public, the message that neurosurgeons are spine surgeons. A recent analysis of the lay press regarding spine care showed that chiropractors were reported more frequently than neurosurgeons as providing spine care. In addition, orthopaedic surgeons are listed far more frequently in the press than neurosurgeons with respect to the spine. Although the overwhelming majority of neurosurgeons perform spine surgery, only a minority of orthopaedic surgeons actually perform spine surgery. As such, the problem has been identified. The lay public does not identify with neurosurgeons as spine surgeons. Our challenge is to form a solution to this problem.
On April 7, 2000, the AANS will run an eightpage insert in USA Today, the national daily newspaper. The goal of the insert is to educate various target publics about the broad scope of neurosurgery. In particular, the role of the neurosurgeon and the surgical and non-surgical care that he or she provides.
As patient self-referrals progressively increase due to access to the Internet, neurosurgeons need to be actively involved in this medium and in public outreach in general. It will be essential that we become increasingly accessible to both primary care physicians (internists and general practice doctors), and secondary spine doctors (physiatrists, chiropractors). The most logical solution would involve becoming comprehensive spine specialists. What does this mean?
For the neurosurgeon to be a comprehensive spine specialist, it would mean becoming involved in the process much earlier than is currently done in many practices. This means we need to learn specific details of the conservative treatment regimens available, as well as their relative success rates.
As comprehensive spine specialists, we should be actively involved and coordinate the care of back and neck pain patients, as well as patients with evidence of radiculopathy, along with our primary and secondary care physicians. While patients are undergoing conservative treatment regimens, such as physical therapy, injections, etc., neurosurgeons need to be involved in at least the oversight of these regimens.