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Guided patient services: If you need surgery


Spine patient

If you’re on this page, you have probably already spoken to a Salem Health Spine Center nurse. If not, please visit our services page to learn how to connect with us. Patients who use the Salem Health Spine Center’s guided patient service (GPS) are not required to receive treatment at Salem Hospital, but choosing to have your neck or back surgery here is a good move.

Surgery can improve your lifestyle, increase your mobility and relieve some of your pain.

Our Spine Center of Excellence program is designed to help patients throughout the spine surgery process from presurgery education and preparation through surgery and postsurgery rehabilitation.

Learn more about specific procedures on the education page.

As a health care team, we are here to help you meet your goals. We have carefully planned every step of your care to help ensure your recovery.

Patients rank us in the top 10 percent in the country in patient satisfaction, so you can be sure we are committed to providing you an exceptional experience.



Frequently asked questions


What is a spine specialist?


Spine specialists have the expertise and training to evaluate spine problems, identify pathological processes through history, examination, and studies, and advise treatment plans.

Different types of spine specialists have different areas of particular expertise based on their training. These include neurosurgeon spine specialists, physical medicine spine specialists, interventional medicine spine specialists, and physical therapists who focus on spine care.

Other medical specialists help provide essential support, input, evaluation and treatment of spine center patients since other medical issues can complicate and aggravate spine problems, and other systemic medical problems can appear as spine problems.


What is a physiatrist?

A physiatrist, also called a physical medicine and rehabilitation (PMR) physician, is a medical doctor specializing in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of all types of physical disabilities. Physiatrists specialize in restoring optimal function to people with injuries to the muscles, bones, tissues and nervous system.


If I need an appointment, will I see the doctor in person?

Yes. We will facilitate scheduling the earliest appointment possible with the recommended specialist. If your primary physician refers you to a specialist who does not participate in the Spine Center’s network, then you or your doctor will have to schedule that appointment, and you will no longer be assisted by the Salem Health Spine Center.


How quickly will I get an appointment after the Spine Center reviews my records?

Typically, within a few weeks, the specialist reviewing your records will determine when and with whom (surgeon, physical therapist, etc.) your appointment should be scheduled.


Will I need to get my imaging films from the imaging center or will the Salem Health Spine Center retrieve them?

The Salem Health Spine Center can request the images from your referring doctor or directly from the imaging center if possible. If needed, we will ask you to pick up your films and deliver them to us.

Keep in mind, we can’t begin reviewing your medical history until we have all images available for the spine specialist to view.


Can I just bring my films in when I come in for my appointment?

No. The spine specialist at the Salem Health Spine Center needs to review your medical information and films ahead of time. By reviewing your films and entire medical history, we can give you the quickest and most appropriate care.


What will happen with my films?

Your films are returned to the originating imaging center upon completion of your care. If the films are your own personal copies, we’ll return them to you.


Will the Salem Health Spine Center address my employment status?

If you have not yet seen one of our spine specialists, you will need to contact your primary care physician regarding your work situation. If you are seen by one of our specialists, he or she will address your work status during your appointment.


Will the Salem Health Spine Center address any of my medication issues?

You will need to contact your referring doctor or physician of record regarding your medication issues. If the spine specialist recommends medications during his or her review, this recommendation will be sent to your primary care physician for consideration.