If you are contemplating spine surgery, you are most likely looking to decrease pain and improve your overall quality of life. Spine surgery can be a beneficial treatment option for many people. However, it is very important to make an informed decision about the surgeon, the process, the recovery and what you can expect in the long term.
If you are thinking about having spine surgery, consider asking your spine surgeon the following questions.
- What is the surgeon’s particular experience with your procedure? How many does he or she do each year?
- What is the success rate with your specific procedure?
- Will anyone else be assisting in the operating room?
- Step-by-step, what will the entire procedure involve?
- Are there any non-surgical options?
- If you do not opt for surgery, what can be expected as far as the progression of your issues?
- What are the risks and complications that can be associated with the specific procedure?
- Are there any side-effects or risks associated with your own personal factors including age, weight or existing conditions?
- What will you need to do leading up to the surgery to prepare? Will you need to stop any medications?
- How long does the surgery last?
- How long will you expect to stay in the hospital?
- How will pain be managed in the hospital and upon release from the hospital?
- Will you need any medical equipment or modifications at home after the surgery?
- Who will you be able to call after you go home with any questions?
- When will you go in for an office visit and who will examine you?
- What limitations should you expect following the surgery?
- How long will limitations last?
- How much time will you need to be off work and/or school?
- Will you need to have help at home to assist with bathing and daily activities?
- How long will you need to wait before driving again?
This is by no means an exhaustive list of questions to ask your surgeon before deciding on spine surgery. Each patient is different and will have specific concerns and considerations to make. It is most important that you think through your own list and make sure to write your questions down before meeting with your surgeon. It might be beneficial to bring someone with you to help gather the information you need.