When Is The Best Time To Have Spine Surgery?

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

Spinal Surgery Hardware

If you’re like a lot of people who may need spine surgery, you have probably given some thought to when you would like to have the procedure performed. After all, you probably have some goals, life events and insurance regulations to consider. So when exactly is the best time to have spine surgery? Or maybe the right question is, what factors should I consider when deciding when to schedule my elective spine surgery? We explore those factors in today’s blog.

When Should I Have Back Surgery?

Because everyone will be dealing with their own individual factors, there is no unilateral perfect day on the calendar to perform your spine surgery. However, if you consider these factors, odds are you can settle on an ideal date for your elective operation.

  • At Least Six Weeks From Initial Consult – For starters, don’t expect to be able to get on the surgery schedule in short order. While some surgeons may not be as far booked out as others, a surgeon typically won’t recommend an operation as your first option. Odds are you are going to need to aggressively pursue weeks or months of conservative care techniques before your surgeon will recommend an operation. We understand that you may be in significant pain, but that doesn’t mean we’ll just jump to surgery and put you on the schedule in two weeks. Normally, your surgery date will be at least six weeks from when you started pursuing conservative care, and ideally those treatments will provide enough relief that you no longer need a procedure.
  • Insurance Considerations – You also want to make sure that you have everything squared away with your insurance company prior to your operation. Getting pre-op authorization usually isn’t that difficult if you are proactive in your pre-op care and you talk with your insurance provider, but they may need some additional things before they will sign off on an operation. They may require a doctor’s recommendation after an MRI, or they may want you to stop smoking for a certain period of time before they provide a specific level of coverage. Contact your insurance provider and make sure everything is in order before you move forward with surgery.
  • Your Individual Goals – Take a look at your extended calendar and start to figure out how surgery and recovery may affect life events and individual goals. Now, we don’t necessarily want you to put off back surgery for months because you have a vacation that you want to go on, but we understand that spine surgery could complicate attending your daughter’s destination wedding, so evaluate your social calendar. You may also have some individual goals to consider, like if you want to be healthy enough to golf during the summer. Assess your calendar and your goals, have a conversation with your spine specialist and understand what the next couple of months will look like before you book your surgery appointment.
  • You’ve Become Healthier – Finally, we want you to be the healthiest version of yourself prior to surgery so that you give yourself the best chance to make a strong recovery. Even if you’re quite healthy prior to your operation, there are still some things you can do to help your body prepare for the trauma of surgery. Ditch the alcohol and tobacco, eat a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains, and partake in some prehab exercises. The ideal patient won’t move forward with an operation until they’ve worked to become a healthier version of themselves over the course of a number of weeks. Before you move forward with surgery, make sure you’ve given yourself some time to become stronger and healthier.

If you consider all these factors and trust your surgical care to an experienced professional like Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute, we’re confident you’ll pick the right time and place for your operation. For more information, or for help with a different spinal issue, give our team a call today at (651) 430-3800.

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