Questions to Ask Your Neurosurgeon Before Spine Surgery
If you have lived with pain in your neck and spine for a long time, you know how debilitating it can be. You have likely tried all sorts of different treatments and if you and your doctor have decided that spine surgery is an option to help alleviate some of the issues that are causing trouble, you may feel a little bit apprehensive. Before you get a referral to a neurosurgeon, you should have some questions lined up to be sure you know the exact plan when it comes to surgery and the overall medical care you’ll receive.
Before you meet with the surgeon for your first appointment, read up on your condition and get to know as much as you can about it. Then, research the doctor online if possible. See if there are online reviews listed and look for information on the doctor’s training or experience.
Below, we’ve listed some additional questions that are very important to ask before you head into your first meeting with your potential surgeon.
Questions to ask your neurosurgeon:
How much of their time do they spend treating spinal disorders that are similar to yours? You’ll want to find a surgeon who performs these surgeries frequently.
Does the surgeon have a list of former patients that can serve as referrals and are willing to share their experiences with you?
Are they willing to provide a referral for a second opinion?
Where did the surgeon complete their degrees and fellowship?
Ask your neurosurgeon detailed questions about your spinal disorder and their opinion/expertise on treatment. Talk about non-surgical options as well, and if the surgeon insists that surgery is the best option, get detailed information about how the surgery is performed.
Get as much information as you can about the risks and complications that can occur with surgery, and find out what the surgeon’s outcomes/success rates have been like.
The bottom line is: never feel anxious about coming to your surgeon with a list of questions. Spine surgery is no small deal – it is very important that you have complete confidence and trust in your surgeon and their ability. Asking good questions means that you are taking control of your body as much as possible and that you’re looking out for your own best interest. In addition, it keeps the communication open between you and your surgeon and you’ll feel comfortable to ask about anything that is of concern in the future.
Sara Thompson has published numerous articles about spine health and pain management. This article was written on behalf of Dr. Todd Kuether, Director of Neurotrauma at Legacy Health in Portland, Oregon. Visit www.kuetherbrainandspine.com