Orthopedic Surgeons are qualified and permitted to carry out Spine Surgery, Underlines the Association of Spine Surgeons of India (ASSI) Clarification comes in backdrop of media reports on an Andhra Pradesh Medical Council order suspending an orthopedic surgeon for alleged complications in a spine surgery



New Delhi, 12th December 2016: The Association of Spine Surgeons of India today underlined that adequately trained Orthopedic Surgeons or Neurosurgeons are fully qualified as well as permitted to perform spine surgery by the Medical Council of India.

The clarification by the umbrella body of spine surgeons of India came in a bid to correct confusion regarding this issue and misrepresentation in some sections of the media following the Andhra Pradesh Medical Council’s (APMC’s) action to suspend an Orthopedic Surgeon following alleged complications in a case of spine surgery conducted by him.

ASSI Secretary Dr H S Chhabra said the reports in some media publications following the APMC order tend to send out a wrong message that Orthopedic Surgeons are not qualified to perform spine surgery. This picture misrepresents or miscommunicates the medical guidelines regarding Orthopedic surgeons’ ability to treat spine surgery cases.

“We, as a leading body of spine surgeons in India would like to clarify that spine surgery can be carried out by Orthopaedic Surgeons or Neurosurgeons who are adequately trained in the same. Thus Orthopaedic surgeons are fully qualified to carry out Spine Surgery, and this matter was clarified by the Medical Council of India itself in a statement dated 29th November 2013. It would hence be incorrect to imply that an Orthopaedic surgeon is not qualified or permitted to carry out Spine Surgery, as incorrectly implied in some reports,” says Dr. H S Chhabra, who is also Chief of Spine Service & Medical Director at Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi.

The ASSI requests the press to clarify this matter, as these reports have created unwarranted confusion in the minds of patients about the ability and legality of Orthopaedic Surgeons for performing Spine Surgery.

The media reports pertain to a case involving an Orthopedic Surgeon who had been served an order to delist his name from the APMC for a period of one year on the charges of “impersonation and medical negligence”. The Orthopedic Surgeon has since filed a writ petition in the AP High court and has been granted an interim stay.

“Till a few decades ago, Orthopedics and Neurosurgical fields were a part of general surgery and the same surgeon would perform abdominal, neurosurgical and orthopedic operations. However, at present the curriculum for training in Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery incorporates medical and surgical management of all spinal ailments and thus spine diseases continue to be effectively treated by Orthopaedic surgeons as well as Neurosurgeons.

“We request the media to correct its representation of the case so that there s no misconception among patients and other regulatory bodies regarding Orthopedic experts ability to treat the spine and perform spine injuries,” adds Dr Chhabra.

ASSI is a registered association of super specialists in spine surgery in India. Its members are Orthopedic Surgeons as well as Neurosurgeons, with specific training & experience in Spine surgery. This being a dedicated association of spine surgeons, ensures high degree of updating of knowledge, experience, training and skills. To dispel any confusion in the minds of the patients, doctors and the regulatory authorities, a clarification was sought by the association from the Medical Council of India in 2013, on the “eligibility of orthopaedic surgeons vis-à-vis neurosurgeons to perform spine surgery”. The 25th Meeting of the Board of Governors of the MCI held on 6th & 7th August, 2013 held detailed discussions on the issue and decided that Orthopedicians may also provide for spinal care including surgery to the patients (copy of MCI letter in this regard enclosed).


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