Emory Spine Center FAQs

Spine Center

What makes the Emory Spine Center different?

The Emory Spine Center is a unique place where surgeons, physiatrists, radiologists, physician assistants, physical therapists, nurses, technicians, and assistants all work together to provide you the best possible spine care. We have non-operative physicians (physiatrists) as well as surgeons who can fully evaluate and treat your spinal disorder. If needed, we can often obtain an MRI or CT scan the same day as your visit and schedule an epidural steroid injection or physical therapy session if indicated. Our teams work to give you the most complete evaluation possible and offer you the most advanced level of care available from physicians who train other physicians in spine specialty medicine.

What is the difference between the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center and the Emory University Orthopaedic & Spine Hospital (EUOSH)?

The Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center at Executive Park houses the Emory Spine Center, the Emory Orthopaedics Center, Sports Medicine, Pediatrics, and Reconstructive Surgery. The Emory Spine Center is where our patients come for evaluation, consultations, and decision-making visits to determine the best course of action in treating their spinal condition. Most non-invasive (non-operative) treatments and scans can be done in our Executive Park building, as can some minimally invasive outpatient procedures. The Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center is located at 59 Executive Park South, Atlanta, Georgia 30329.

The Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital (EUOSH) is where our doctors perform surgery. At the EUOSH, our patients have all the benefits of a full-service inpatient hospital with physical and occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, critical care certified nurses,  social services, dietary and nutritional support, as well as a dedicated orthopedic nursing and ancillary staff. The EUOSH is located at 1455 Montreal Road in Tucker, Georgia, 30084.

What is a physiatrist?

A physiatrist, or a rehabilitation physician, is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosis, nonsurgical treatments, and pain relief for musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions. Physiatrists restore maximum function lost through injury, illness, or disabling conditions. They work not only on treatment but also on injury prevention and treat the whole person, not just the problem area.

Do I need to see a physiatrist or a surgeon?

Our goal is to provide you with appropriate, comprehensive spine care. We have an excellent team of non-operative physicians, called physiatrists, on staff. Most patients will be evaluated by a physiatrist first and provided with treatment options such as physical therapy, lifestyle modification, injection therapy, and pain management. However, many individuals do need surgical evaluations, as well. When indicated, our knowledgeable and talented physiatrist team will refer you to one of our surgeons for a consultation to determine whether surgery is the right choice for you.

How do I choose a physician?

Our top-notch physicians have national and international reputations. All are excellent and provide superior spine care. You or your referring doctor may have a specific doctor in mind. If there is a delay in scheduling an appointment with a particular physician (as that doctor may be on vacation, away lecturing, or just have a full schedule), you may be offered another physician in our group who can see you more quickly. Rest assured, all Emory physicians are extremely competent. As a rule, we work together to arrive at the best course of care for each patient. Sometimes this means that it is in the patient's best interest that his/her care be transferred to another physician who has the most expertise in solving that patient's problems.

What is the difference between an orthopedic spine surgeon and a neurologic spine surgeon?

Most surgeons performing advanced spine surgery today received additional training in spine after completing their residency programs after medical school. Historically, the first disc operation was performed jointly by an orthopedic surgeon and a neurosurgeon. For some time in the middle part of the last century, most bone work regarding decompression and instrumentation for fusion was performed by the orthopedic surgeon, and final decompression or manipulation of the nerves was performed by the neurosurgeon. Rarely today do both orthopedic spinal surgeons and neurosurgeons work on the same case. Both orthopedic spinal surgeons and neurosurgeons have expert training in bone and nerve root decompression as well as placement of metal hardware implants. At Emory, we have neurosurgical spine surgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons who can handle any spine problem. Our neurosurgical staff take on the bulk cases involving spinal cord tumors within the dura, while both orthopedic spinal surgeons and neurosurgical spinal surgeons handle spinal column or bone tumors in general.

Spine Conditions
For appointments, call