What is the difference between an orthopedic doctor, a neurologist, and a neurosurgeon?

If you ever have a car accident, it is most likely that you will be examined by different medical professionals. There are many medical specialties, and each of them treats different health issues. Each will have a specific role in the diagnosis and treatment process after your accident. This will depend on the type of injuries, location of injuries, and their severity.

Settlements vary depending on the severity of your damages, but even if an injury doesn’t appear to be very serious immediately following the accident, it might cost you years of stress and pain if you don’t act quickly.

Just as you shouldn’t delay in seeking medical help, you shouldn’t wait to contact an auto accident law firm about your case. Doing so may mean the difference between getting your life back on track after a personal injury or trying to deal with mounting medical bills, missed work, and no financial compensation after your accident.

You need a personal injury attorney who has experience in brain injury and wrongful death claims resulting from auto and truck accidents to guide you through the process of getting the compensation and care you deserve.

Orthopedic surgeon (1,2)

An orthopedic surgeon is a medical doctor trained to treat injuries and medical conditions of the musculoskeletal system, including the extremities and spine. The role of an orthopedic surgeon is to prevent, diagnose, and treat musculoskeletal issues.

Every orthopedic surgeon has completed a medical degree followed by a 5-year residency under the supervision of another orthopedic surgeon. While some orthopedic surgeons remain generalists, nowadays many more choose specializations. General orthopedic surgeons treat a wide variety of symptoms and diseases. On the other hand, specialized orthopedic surgeons have a more focused area of expertise. In order to become a specialist in a certain area of the musculoskeletal system, the orthopedic surgeon must complete a further fellowship program. There are orthopedic surgeons that specialize in hand and wrist conditions, the feet and ankles, hips, knees, elbows, or the spine.

An orthopedic surgeon will begin the examination by taking a detailed history of the injury and accident. They will ask: how the injury occurred, what was the approximate speed of the car, where was the impact site (front, back, side of the car), whether the car rolled over, what are the injured body areas, what are the symptoms, and did they start immediately after the accident, whether they worsened with time, and so on. It is important to provide as many details as possible.

After that, the orthopedic surgeon will examine the injured areas. First, he will look for the injuries. Bruises, wounds, deformities, and swelling can be noted easily. He will palpate the injured area and check if it causes pain. He will also check the range of motion of nearby joints and possible neurological damage.

After that, the orthopedic surgeon can order tests like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs to visualize the injured areas and confirm the diagnosis.

Once the correct diagnosis has been determined, the role of an orthopedic surgeon is to choose the correct treatment method and treat the patient. There are two main types of treatment provided by orthopedic surgeons: surgical and non-surgical treatment options. Orthopedic surgeons are trained to perform surgeries on the extremities and spine. They can fix bone fractures using plates, screws, nails, pins, and wires. They are also trained to replace joints with endoprosthesis and repair ruptured tendons or ligaments. Spinal orthopedic surgeons are trained to perform surgeries on the injured spine.

Less severe injuries of the musculoskeletal system are treated non-surgically by orthopedic surgeons. Most of these injuries can be treated using splints, orthotics, rest, ice, compression, pain killers, etc.

Neurologist (3,4)

A neurologist is a medical doctor trained to treat diseases of the nervous system. There are two main parts of the nervous system: the central nervous system (the brain) and the peripheral nervous system (all the nerves in the human body). Neurologists treat conditions related to both the brain and nerves. Some of the most common diseases treated by neurologists include stroke, multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases, headaches, brain infections, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and seizures.

In order to become a neurologist, your doctor has completed medical school followed by a year-long internship and after then a 3-year residency. Today, many neurologists go on to acquire additional education and training in an area of interest. Some of the most common subspecialties for neurologists include headache medicine, stroke care, epilepsy medicine, neuro-oncology, and child neurology.

Once the patient goes to the neurologist, they will ask the patient about their symptoms. It is important to describe the type of symptoms, their duration, what causes them to worsen, and what relieves them, if anything. The more details about the symptoms, the better. After that, the neurologist will conduct a physical examination. Additionally, they will perform a neurological examination that consists of checking the muscle strength, presence of neuromuscular reflexes, coordination, and balance.

After the examination, specific procedures can be ordered in order to confirm the diagnosis. CT scans and MRIs are great options to visualize the brain, spinal cord, and nerves, and to detect possible damage or injuries. EMG is frequently used to detect the injury of peripheral nerves. It measures the speed of signal transmission from the spinal cord to the muscles. If there is nerve injury or disease, the EMG will show it.

Following a car accident, neurologists frequently treat their patients for headaches, concussions, and peripheral nerve injuries.

If you have been involved in an auto accident that has caused traumatic brain injuries or nerve damage, a personal injury attorney can help you understand the accident law that applies to your case. They will help you process your claims and document your injuries, whether the symptoms appear immediately, days, or even weeks later.

Neurosurgeon (5,6)

Neurosurgeons are medical doctors trained to treat diseases and injuries of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Many people confuse neurologists with neurosurgeons. Both treat nervous system diseases. However, there is one important difference between them. Neurosurgeons are trained to perform surgeries and provide non-surgical treatment while neurologists only provide non-surgical treatment.

Neurosurgeons undergo one of the longest educations in the medical field. After completing medical school, a doctor will need to finish a one-year internship in general surgery and then 5-7 years of neurosurgery residency. Only after they have completed the residency will they have the title of  neurosurgeon. Most neurosurgeons also choose a specific area of interest and continue their education by doing fellowships. Some of the neurosurgery subspecialties include spinal surgery, pediatric surgery, cerebrovascular surgery, and neuro-oncology.

Neurosurgeons treat problems like lower back pain or any other spine issue, tumors located in the brain or spine, issues with nerves, and blood vessels in the brain. They also sometimes treat spine trauma and peripheral nerve trauma.

It can be complicated to navigate all these legal and medical systems on your own — but you don’t have to.

At Correll Law Firm, a Virginia personal injury lawyer can guide you through the process of getting the compensation you deserve after a traumatic car accident.

Even seemingly mild cases can turn severe in a matter of hours, unfortunately leading to situations where hiring a wrongful death lawyer — rather than a lawyer for brain or spinal injuries or personal injuries — becomes necessary.

A licensed attorney for personal injuries practicing in Virginia will be experienced in car accident cases and can help you get the medical treatment you need quickly.

  1. https://www.betterteam.com/orthopedic-surgeon-job-description
  2. https://jobdescriptionandresumeexamples.com/orthopedic-surgeon-job-description-duties-and-responsibilities/
  3. https://www.webmd.com/brain/neurologist-facts
  4. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/highland/departments-centers/neurology/what-is-a-neurologist.aspx
  5. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-neurosurgeon
  6. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/highland/departments-centers/neurosurgery/what-is-a-neurosurgeon.aspx