Indications for Spine Referral

Indications for spine referral

Degenerative Spine Conditions: Indications for Referral

D. Kojo Hamilton, M.D., Spine Surgeon
OHSU Spine Center
It is indeed daunting to undergo surgery of any kind, particularly major spinal surgery. At the OHSU Spine Center, we focus on patient-centered therapies and symptom management for degenerative spinal conditions well before surgery is considered. We offer a full range of spinal care treatments with specialists in neurological surgery, orthopaedic surgery, pain management, physical medicine and rehabilitation and physical therapy.

For patients with degenerative spine conditions of any kind, the OHSU Spine Center includes a comprehensive approach to diagnosis, disease management and treatment. We also offer the ability to seek a second opinion from various sub-specialty surgeons, such as those who deal with refractory pain management through complex reconstructive spine surgeons. All this treatment is available in one coordinated visit.

Key symptoms
Traditional symptoms related to degenerative spine conditions causing spinal compression, joint inflammation and/or neurological deficits include pain, numbness, with associated tingling, limb weakness, loss of dexterity and/or muscle atrophy. In our practice, we also include new symptoms of chronic neck and back pain following multiple surgeries, iatrogenic deformities and lack of proper diagnosis for adjacent level degeneration after successful prior surgeries.

It is rare to have a misdiagnosis of degenerative spine conditions, due to improved non-invasive imaging and the ubiquity in the adult population of mostly age-related spinal conditions.

However, what is more common is the lack of proper interpretation, counseling of the patient in alternative therapies and the long-term effectiveness of all modalities prior to beginning course of therapy.

We also work directly with OHSU’s Comprehensive Pain Center in addressing excellent symptomatic pain relief without surgery for arthritic non-compressive spine conditions. This can also be a selected second opinion needed prior to undergoing revision spine surgery. Some of the pathologies treated and managed include cervical, thoracic and lumbar degenerative disc disease, stenosis, trauma, cord injury, scoliosis, arthritic spine and minimally invasive spine surgery.

We firmly believe in preserving the trust earned from your patients, and are committed to partnering with you in the care of your patients. We are very involved in keeping direct communication and shared decision making with you regarding all your patients’ needs, whether they be pre-, peri- or post-surgical.

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