7 Questions to Ask your Surgeon Before Spine Surgery

Category: Minimally Invasive Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: January 8, 2014

spine surgery questionsSurgery can be a scary thing. The best way to prepare yourself for an operation is to talk with your surgeon about the procedure. This can alleviate your fears and make you more comfortable about the whole process. Here are seven questions to ask your surgeon before your operation:

  1. What are my treatment options (both surgical and non-surgical)? Spinal surgeries are often only considered after more conservative treatments have failed. It’s important to discuss ALL of your treatment options with your doctor before making a decision about surgery.
  2. What procedure(s) do you recommend and why? For most conditions of the spine there are numerous surgical procedures that may be able to help. It is up to your surgeon to decide which procedure will be the most effective. Ask them to explain all possible procedures and why they made the recommendation they did.
  3. What is the success rate of the recommended procedure and what are the risks involved? With any surgery, there are possible risks. No surgery has a 100% success rate. As a result it’s good to know the specific risks involved in your procedure, as well as its success rate.
  4. How many times have you performed this procedure in the past? It is vitally important that you have an understanding of the level of experience your surgeon has.  Ask for specifics here – what is their personal success rate with this procedure and what are the possible complications that they’ve seen?
  5. What will I need to do to prepare for the surgery? Some surgeries require you to fast or refrain from taking medication beforehand. Be sure to clarify with your surgeon so you know exactly what is expected of you. Most spine practices offer manuals that go over what to expect following surgery.  Most hospitals offer specific programs that patients can attend in order to better prepare for their upcoming surgery.
  6. What type of anesthesia will be used during the procedure? The majority of spinal surgeries are performed under general anesthesia. General Anesthesia keeps you unconscious during surgery. It is a complex science because the effectiveness of the type of anesthesia used can vary based on your current prescribed medications, and your health background.
  7. Will the procedure be covered by my insurance? Be sure that your surgeon accepts your particular health insurance provider.

These are just a handful of useful questions. Feel free to ask your doctor anything else you may think of. They will be happy to answer any inquiries that make you feel more comfortable about the surgery being performed.

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