Category: Surgeons | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: December 1, 2016
Finding the right spine surgeon for your operation can be a difficult task. It’s generally pretty easy to talk to friends and co-workers to get their recommendation for a primary care physician, because almost everyone visits the doctor on a semi-regular basis, but not everyone has undergone a spinal fusion or a discectomy. Since information from colleagues may be sparse, and it’s difficult to truly gauge a physician by his online profile, the best way to see if a spine surgeon is a good fit for you is to meet with them in person. But what are some good qualities to look for in a spine surgeon during your visit? Here are four qualities to keep an eye out for during your consultation.
Many doctors and surgeons prefer to instill confidence in their patients by appearing confident and taking charge of the consultation, and while that’s important, it’s also key that a two-way dialogue is taking place. Make sure your surgeon is actually hearing to what you have to say and not just documenting your responses and moving on. Descriptions you give about your symptoms and conditions should guide the conversation, so it’s important that your doctor listens to your answers and adjusts their discussion appropriately instead of dominating the conversation.
Empathy is another quality to look for in a surgeon. Spine injuries can take an extreme toll on a person’s physical, mental and emotional health, and it’s important to find a physician that understands what you’re going through and cares for all aspects of your health. If your surgeon seems to brush off your symptoms or dismisses any concerns, they probably aren’t a good fit for your needs.
Some patients prefer to have a doctor who tells them exactly what they should do to care for their spine injury. Even if that’s the case, a good spine surgeon will explain all your options and ask you about your preferences. Maybe you want to put off surgery until after the sports season, or you want to know the success rates of a minimally invasive operation compared to an open operation. A quality spine surgeon will ask about your preferences, because after all, you are the patient and it’s your needs that have to be met.
The final quality you should look for in a spine surgeon is a depth of knowledge about your specific condition. You’ll want a surgeon who has dealt with your exact condition on a number of occasions and who has a well-documented track record of helping treat that condition. When you’re talking to them, listen to see if they go into detail about your specific injuries and their plan for helping you achieve pre-injury levels of relief. If you feel comfortable with their breadth of knowledge on your spine condition, they are probably a good fit for your care.