Usually, people who decide to undergo back surgery have been in pain for a long time. Maybe they have tried pain management, physical therapy, and gritting their teeth and living with the pain. Maybe the back pain originated from a work or other lifestyle injury. In any case, the goal of the surgery is to be without pain on a daily basis.
A neurosurgeon is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of problems in the central and peripheral nervous system, including the spine. Finding the right spinal surgeon will help make sure you have the right diagnosis to begin with, so you get the best possible treatment outcome. Neurosurgery is not to be taken lightly. Here are some of the things you can do to make sure you’re picking the right spine surgeon for you.
Your spinal health is the core of the alignment of your entire body. When you go to see the surgeon for the first time, come prepared with a list of questions you want to ask. Here are some we suggest asking:
- How many times have you performed this procedure?
- What is your personal success rate for this surgery?
- How long will the surgery take?
- What are the side effects and possible risks?
- How is my pain managed in the hospital?
- What kind of recovery time am I looking at?
- How soon can I start physical therapy after the surgery?
- Do you have someone you recommend if I would like a second opinion?
- Are you fellowship trained in spinal surgery? (This just means the surgeon has additional years of training in a specialty.)
- Are you board certified?
Get Familiar with Your Doctor
Your doctor should always be patient with you and willing to take time to answer any questions you might have. If he’s not, then he probably isn’t the right surgeon for you. Keep in mind, as well, that there are plenty of resources online that let people voice their opinions of doctor and surgeons they have used before. Feel free to Google search your surgeon’s name and see what comes up. Developing a relationship with your doctor is important before you go into surgery. It will make the surgery and recovery time go much smoother if you are comfortable with your neurosurgeon.
Get Patient References
Talking to other patients who have had spinal surgery might also help put to rest some of your apprehension about the procedure. Knowing that your doctor is confident, efficient, and able to answer all of your concerns will make the process less scary. Hopefully when you find the right spinal surgeon, you’ll feel like you are on the road to a better quality of life.