How to Choose a Spine Surgeon
Addressing your back pain with surgery can be a serious step toward your recovery. You’re ready for relief, and you want to put your procedure in the hands of someone you trust. Selecting a spine surgeon who can fulfill this role is a big decision.
It may feel impossible to conduct meticulous research when you face back pain each day. Your precision to care pay off when you focus your efforts on finding surgeons with the most important traits. Use these characteristics and tips to guide your search and select a surgeon who fits your needs.
What to Look for in a Spine Surgeon
These and other traits can help you decide who you trust to perform your spinal surgery:
- Spine specialization: Surgeons who dedicate at least half of their practice to spinal surgery are often stronger candidates than those who practice in a variety of areas. Spine specialists may have greater experience with your surgery, and they may be more likely to keep up with current surgical techniques. Most surgeons who specialize in spine surgery have completed an additional year of training called a spinal fellowship.
- Experience: Working with an experienced surgeon gives you peace of mind about your surgery and may improve the probability of a successful outcome. When researching and talking to surgeons, be sure to ask how many years of experience they have and how often they perform the type of surgery you’re having.
- Friendliness: Your surgeon plays a crucial role in educating you about the procedure, the options you have and your potential outcomes. Look for a surgeon who answers your questions, makes you feel comfortable and cares about your long-term success. Though a surgeon’s bedside manner does not determine their skills and experience, it is still important to pick someone who makes you feel at ease with your surgery.
When you identify candidates who fit these criteria, you can schedule a consultation to speak with them. If you feel uncertain about your first choice or you want a second opinion to be sure your surgery is the best option, your insurance may cover a second consultation for a second opinion.
Tips on How to Find a Great Spine Surgeon
There are a few ways you can approach finding your spine surgeon. You can choose to start with recommendations from your doctors, or you can investigate on your own. The following are a few tips to consider for your search:
1. Conduct Research
Online research can help you get a sense of who is available in your area and the type of reputation they have. Look for a surgeon’s credentials, their history practicing as a spine surgeon and any specializations they may have. If you can find any information on their experience with the procedure you’re considering, read about the techniques they use and the success their patients have.
2. Ask Questions
When you meet with a spine surgeon, ask the following questions to aid in your decision:
- Why do I need this surgery?
- Who are some patients I can talk to about their experience with this procedure?
- How many of these procedures do you perform in a year?
- What are my options for this surgery?
- What kind of risks and recovery time are associated with this procedure?
- What is the success rate of inpiduals with my condition who have this surgery?
Continue to ask questions until you thoroughly understand your surgery and the surgeon’s qualifications. If you notice one or more of these red flags, you may want to consider choosing a different surgeon:
- The surgeon cannot explain the procedure and its goals in plain language.
- The surgeon discourages you from getting a second opinion.
- The surgeon refuses to listen to your goals and desires for the procedure.
- The surgeon seems upset or irritated when you ask questions or ask for a second opinion.
3. Consider Communication
Your surgeon’s medical ability and surgical background are extremely important, but they are not the only variables in your decision. The way a surgeon communicates with you is another crucial piece to consider. If you feel you can communicate effectively with your surgeon, both parties can stay informed and work as a team.
Spine surgery directly impacts your quality of life and finances. When a surgeon encourages open communication and ensures your voice is heard, you can get the effective treatment you deserve.
How Can I Find the Best Spine Surgeon?
Finding the best surgeon will vary depending on whether you have a herniated disc, sciatica pain or other spinal issues. A reliable way to find a surgeon for your specific injury is to ask family, friends or coworkers for personal recommendations. If you know someone who has been in your position and you feel comfortable sharing about your upcoming surgery, ask your loved ones about their experiences. You can learn a lot about what your experience might entail when you talk to someone who has been through the same procedure.
If you received orthopedic treatments before pursuing back surgery, your care facility might be able to recommend a trustworthy course of action. Professionals like those at NJ Spine and Wellness understand your condition and can determine if and when surgery is necessary.
Trust NJ Spine and Wellness for Your Spine Needs
At NJ Spine and Wellness, we care about helping you make the right decision on your spine surgery. We offer a variety of spinal treatment methods that allow you to explore your options with an inpidualized treatment plan. Our treatment offerings include:
- Lifestyle modifications
- Physical therapy
- Therapeutic injections
- Traction therapy
Along with these treatments, our caring experts can help you identify if you’re a good candidate for surgery and put you on a path toward musculoskeletal relief. To get better faster, book your appointment today.