If you're reading this because you're considering surgery with Dr. Melamed (or just need to see if you don't need surgery), i hope my post can clarify some ease for you.
Dr. Melamed is seriously an AMAZING surgeon. I have to admit, i was pretty scared up until my surgery. Just to clarify - I'm actually quite the pessimist, so even reading all these great reviews didn't help put me at ease.
I'll start with a little back story (no pun intended) - I was a pretty healthy person up until a worsening spine condition made my life bad enough to the point where it was starting to interfere with daily life/social activities. In the worst moments, i couldn't sleep at night from nerve pains/sensations. After a few months of traditional Physical Therapy treatment, while it certainly helped, it still wasn't fully working out (again, no pun intended) to getting me back to the previous life i had. At this point I was scared shitless, so I figured i'd at least speak with some surgeons.
From having spoken with multiple surgeons, I can tell you that LA tends to have pretty solid surgeons. Even amongst some of the best surgeons here (some even treat pro athletes and other celebs), I found Dr. Melamed to be just flat out better in his approaches.
At the first few encounters, I found Dr. Melamed to be a little more intense than some of the other surgeons. But then i realized - actually... that's EXACTLY what I want in my spine surgeon (and what you should look for too). He's incredibly knowledgeable, and also has the patience to explain everything in great detail. Now thinking back on it, and having watched a video recording of the operation, I realize that it's much better that you pick a surgeon who is extremely patient and meticulous (and Dr. Melamed was the best at both, of all the surgeons whom i spoke with). The reason why you shouldn't pick any other surgeon is because you would probably get an inferior surgery/recovery experience. With even some of the other great surgeons in LA, I never got the vibe that they'd be as meticulous during the surgery. I'd imagine that missing even a single small fragment in the spine may have complications after surgery. After spoking with Dr. Melamed, I felt I could trust him to not miss a single important detail. I'm not so sure i could place the same level of trust with other spine surgeons.
Needless to say, the surgery was a success and it already feels like i'm well on my way to getting back my previous life style. That said, this whole experience has been life changing, so my other advice to you reading this post is that ... DON'T OVER DO IT. It's not worth it suddenly running a marathon at the expense of your spine.
In case you're still worried about seeing Dr. Melamed, did I mention he's been on TV? I believe he also has done spine surgery for other spine surgeons, which is always a great indicator. Also, his statistics are pretty good - the vast majority of his patients do overwhelmingly well. You'll also notice that for his age, Dr. Melamed is the best. This was an important factor for me - while I could spend a lot more time searching for an older surgeon that has done 40 years of spine surgery, they might not be practicing if I need help with my spine later in life!!! Plus, he keeps up with newer and better techniques in the industry, which gives superior results to the surgery/recovery. This really sets him apart from the other older textbook surgeons (nothing wrong with textbook cases, just that they sometimes don't translate 100% in practice).
One other note - I was seeing Dr. Melamed at the DISC spine center. The entire center is really great for my spinal recovery. He works with a whole team of chiropractor and physical therapist, so they will get to know you personally (which is great, because they will know how best to treat you as a team, as opposed to random conflicting opinions from individual providers).
All in all, I'm extremely thankful for Dr. Melamed - I'm no longer in pain, and very much look forwards to getting stronger and stronger every week.