The Multidisciplinary Approach to Spinal Surgery

The multidisciplinary approach to spinal surgery.

Complex tasks often involve more than one professional. If you’re building a house, you may need an architect, builder, plumber, electrician and carpenter. If you omit one of these tradies, your house is likely to be less than it should be. You might have walls and a roof but no running water or electricity. 

Similarly, if you’ve got a spine injury or condition, you ideally need a number of different skillsets to involve in your treatment. 


What is a multidisciplinary approach?

Healthcare professionals each train in one particular discipline, developing deep expertise in that area.

However, patients are not simply a collection of different body parts or physical complications! You’re a whole person. Your body involves complex interrelated moving parts that all need to work well together. That’s why you need coordinated and well-rounded care from a team of professionals trained in different aspects of spinal health.

Multidisciplinary teams combine the expertise and skills of a range of health professionals who plan and manage your care together. It’s a tried and tested approach for ensuring your care addresses the full range of your needs. Multidisciplinary teams have been shown to improve health outcomes and patient satisfaction.


Which healthcare professionals are involved in spinal surgery?

The Victorian Orthopaedic Spine Service strongly believes in the value of multidisciplinary teams.

Surgery is only one part of the solution for your back. That’s why we work closely with GPs, pain specialists, physiotherapists, clinical psychologists, nurses and occupational therapists. We want to ensure you receive the latest evidence-based contemporary care for your spinal condition, whether you’ve had spinal cord surgery, spinal surgery for scoliosis, lower back surgery or a different type of spinal surgery.

So, what role do they each play?

GP – Coordinates your care and considers your overall wellbeing.

Orthopaedic surgeon – Specialist in the surgical and non-surgical management of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions. 

Pain specialist – Specialist in relieving chronic pain.

Physiotherapist – Assesses and addresses areas of weakness, limited sensation, reduced mobility, poor posture and gait to help you improve fitness, strength and flexibility.

Clinical psychologist – Highly trained to assess and manage your mental and emotional wellbeing to live with a spinal condition.

Nurse – Administers medication, provides support and encouragement and promotes self-determination. 

Occupational therapist – Equip you to manage day-to-day tasks, advising on strengthening exercises or modification aids.


What are the benefits of a multidisciplinary team for spinal care?

Multidisciplinary teams can aid your spinal care by:

  • Sharing their clinical opinions with one another to develop an agreed program of care
  • Giving you opportunities to pursue non-surgical treatment options if there are not yet clear signs you need back surgery
  • Helping you get into good shape for surgery (prehab)
  • Providing a program of rehabilitation to help you regain strength, flexibility and mobility after surgery (rehab).

For non-surgical patients, multidisciplinary care can help you set goals, gain confidence and sustain long-term outcomes.


Does a multidisciplinary approach help with spinal surgery recovery time?

Multidisciplinary spinal care teams may help reduce pain and disability, ease anxiety and depression and reduce fear of movement which can hinder recovery. This model of care may involve a shorter hospital stay and a faster return to everyday life.


How can the Victorian Orthopaedic Spine Service help?

If you’d like multidisciplinary care for your spinal condition, then please contact us at the Victorian Orthopaedic Spine Service. Our capable team is here to support you.



All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances and seek a second opinion. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks.

Dr David EdisAbout Dr David Edis

Dr David Edis is an Orthopaedic and Spine Surgeon. David’s areas of special interest include the management of adult spinal conditions as well as hip and knee replacements. He has extensive experience in all facets of spine surgery from simple to complex, covering cervical to lumbo-pelvic conditions. He is an active researcher and medical educator and believes in lifelong learning. He is constantly updating his skills and helping other surgeons.