How to find a spine surgeon in your city in Northern California who specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery and artificial disc replacement

Research from the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care which studies variation in medical care across the United States documents that the specialty of spine care has one of the largest variations in quality of care. Some experts estimate that there is twice the amount of back surgery in the United States compared to other countries. And within the U.S. some areas of the country can have 8 times the amount of spine surgery.

Unlike the specialty of heart care which is the undisputed domain of cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons, the field of spine is highly fragmented and has family practice physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists, physical medicine & rehabilitation specialists, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists and pain physicians all involved with the treatment of back and neck pain problems. Unfortunately, each of these specialties can bring an inherent bias based on their training silo.

Pain specialists can be biased toward injections or pain procedures. Other non-surgical specialists can depend too much on the use painkillers and drugs, which can create an even bigger problem of drug dependency for the back or neck pain sufferer. Chiropractors can’t prescribe drugs — which is a good thing — but some can hang onto a patient too long when the patient has a numb hand or numb foot, creating permanent paralysis and lifelong numbness.

Surgeons also can be biased toward recommending spine surgery to remove a herniated disc. Removing the disc can in turn then require a spinal fusion which locks the two vertebrae together causing a loss of motion. Research has proven that such spinal fusions can cause other discs to herniate.

Artificial discs, however, retain that motion and have been proven to lessen the risk of other herniations. But if the surgeon you are seeing doesn’t know how to perform artificial disc surgery, you will not hear about it, as the surgeon will lose your case to another surgeon.

Even if surgery is required to prevent permanent paralysis of nerves in a leg or arm, there is also great variation even among spine surgeons, with many older spine surgeons still making 3-inch long incisions to access the herniated disc.

The most highly trained spine surgeons now use tubular retractors and endoscopic instruments the size of a ball point pen to access the herniated disc through a half-inch or one-inch incision — instead of the old school 3-inch long incision. The highly trained spine surgeon uses a microscopic camera in the tip of the endoscope and views the images on a monitor. Tiny incisors in the end of the endoscope instrument enable the trained spine surgeon to remove the disc herniation through the tube. The inch-long incision is then closed and covered with a bandage.

The benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery are significant to the patient:

  • Smaller incision creates less damage to muscles and ligaments so they recover back quickly after surgery with less pain and discomfort
  • Quicker return to work, sports and recreational activities.
  • Smaller one-inch scar rather than a 3-inch scar
  • Surgery done in an outpatient surgery setting rather than in a large hospital
  • Go home the same day rather than sit in a hospital for several days and be exposed to hospital infections
  • Less pain after surgery and less pain in recovery
  • Less blood loss which can eliminate the need for outside blood
  • Less risk of complications of a larger incision

If you are a patient in Northern California, how do you find a spine surgeon in your city who specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery and artificial disc replacement?

San Jose Neurospine was founded 10 years ago by a neurospine surgeon, Dr. Adebukola Onibokun, who spent 8 years doing minimally invasive spine surgery at UCLA, working with some of the world’s leading visionaries and pioneers in the field of minimally invasive spinal surgery and endoscopic technology. This team developed and continually refined several of the endoscopic spine surgery techniques used worldwide today. Dr. Onibokun also co-authored one of early articles on minimally invasive pedicle screw fixation. His research also led to the publication of the first ever article defining anatomic considerations for cervical pedicle screw insertion using multiplanar CT measurements.

He then was recruited by Elmhurst Memorial Hospital in Chicago to be Chief of Neurosurgery and to develop the hospital’s Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery program. Over the course of his career he has performed more than 2,000 successful operations, most of them with a minimally invasive approach.

Obviously accessing world-class training and experience in minimally invasive endoscopic spine surgery and artificial disc replacement cannot be found in every city in Northern California. Even San Francisco has few neurospine specialists with similar training.

We welcome patients to call us directly for an appointment or a second opinon for spine surgery. Over the last 10 years, San Jose Neurospine has been referred back pain and neck pain patients from physicians and chiropractors in the following cities in Northern California.

  • Silicon Valley area including Palo Alto and Mountain View
  • Coastal cities of San Mateo and Santa Cruz
  • The Pebble Beach area of Carmel, Monterey and Salinas
  • Santa Rosa and the Napa and Sonoma valleys
  • Interior Northern California cites like Los Gatos, Fremont, Stockton, Modesto, Sacramento, Redding, Fresno, Bakersfield, Chico and Truckee

A conservative well-rounded approach to spine

Philosophically, Dr. Onibokun emphasizes conservative treatment options, helping patients explore non-surgical treatment options prior to considering spine surgery.

San Jose Neurospine is located in Campbell, California in the San Jose area and is an easy 14-minute drive from San Jose International airport.

Dr. Onibokun is on staff at El Camino Hospital (Mountain View and Los Gatos campuses), Good Samaritan Hospital – San Jose, and Sequoia Hospital – Redwood city. Most of his minimally invasive surgeries, however, are done in an outpatient setting at Ambulatory Surgery Centers set up with that advanced instrumentation.

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