Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: October 21, 2021
Surprises can be great, but they are something we typically try to avoid in the operating room and when our patients are working to recover from surgery. Sometimes these surprises come from unexpected happenings in the operating room, but far more often than not they develop because of a misunderstanding or mismatched expectations on the patient’s end. Below, we explain some of the things we do to prevent surprises on our end and from the patient’s perspective.
Preventing Unwanted Surprises As A Spine Surgeon
When it comes to preventing unwanted surprises as a surgeon in the operating room or during the recovery period, it really comes down to doing your homework. A great spine surgeon will have perfected the surgical techniques long ago, but it’s not just about knowing how to perform the operation. The surgeon also needs to get to know the patient and the potential risks they present based on their health. Are they diabetic? Are they currently taking any medications? Do they have any increased risks of complications like from being overweight or a smoker? Each patient is different, and if a surgeon assumes every operation is the same, they’ll eventually be in for some unwanted surprises.
The other huge factor for surgeons in eliminating unwanted surprises falls on their ability to effectively communicate with the patient. The surgeon may be able to look at an MRI result and know that the patient may have a higher quality of life and less pain if they pursue a discectomy procedure, but the patient doesn’t know that. A great surgeon explains things in terms that patients can understand and takes the time to answer any questions they might have. It may all be familiar to the surgeon, but that’s not the case for the patient, so the surgeon needs to meet them more than halfway. It may not be a surprise to the surgeon, but it could be to the patient if they aren’t kept in the loop in regards to their care and recovery.
Preventing Unwanted Surprises As A Spine Surgery Patient
If you’re a patient that is looking to prevent unwanted surprises during your operation and recovery, you also need to do your homework and be active in your care. For starters, don’t just choose a surgeon at random. Do some research online, ask for recommendations from your primary care physician and see who has great reviews online. Take an initial surgical consultation with a specialist, and if you don’t like the vibe, trust your gut and find another surgeon. Having complete faith in your surgeon can help to ensure everything goes smoothly during your care.
And perhaps the most important thing a patient can do to help cut down on unexpected surprises is to ask questions and be active in the recovery process. If you’re uncertain about something or you don’t know what to expect, ask questions so that you’re not surprised later. Also, know that recovery is going to take some work on your end. Surgery alone isn’t going to cure your pain, you’re going to need to commit to rehabilitation and physical therapy. Don’t be surprised that you have to put in work to get the best results, because that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
Finally, know that there will be some pain and discomfort during your recovery. We do everything in our power to help limit discomfort after surgery and as you recover, but it’s not a painless process. Expect some discomfort and try to put mind over matter, just know that some discomfort is expected and completely normal
If you’d like to learn more about how we work to prevent surprises during the surgical process, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and his team today.