Spine surgery can be serious business, but if you have chosen an experienced and knowledgeable spine surgeon, you’ll be in good hands. But even surgeries that are considered “routine” for our surgeons, may not be routine for you. One of the cornerstones of our practice is patient education and we encourage our patients to ask questions in order to help them make informed decisions about their care. Here are 10 important questions to ask your spine surgeon before surgery.
- What does this procedure entail? Your surgeon should be able to give you a detailed, step-by-step process of how the surgical procedure will work. You, as the patient, have the right to know and hearing the surgeon relay the details will both empower you and build trust that the surgeon is experienced and knows what they are doing.
- Why do I need this surgery? Ask the surgeon to explain your specific condition and how this potential surgery may help you.
- What will this surgery do to correct my situation? Some surgeries can completely correct an issue, while others may only bring partial relief. Find out exactly what you can expect with your procedure.
- Have all of our non-surgical alternatives been exhausted? Non-invasive treatments should almost always be tried prior to electing surgery. At Polaris, your doctor will not recommend surgery unless non-surgical alternatives have been explored and exhausted, or your condition is emergent.
- Can I get a second opinion before the surgery? Yes! We always encourage patients to equip themselves with as much knowledge as possible about their condition in order to feel assured about the care they are receiving.
- What happens if I elect to not have the surgery? Will my condition worsen? Ask this question to get a clear picture of what your life might be like without the surgery. Would your condition stay the same, or would you get worse? Is there a chance for recovery without the procedure?
- How long will I be in the hospital? For some outpatient procedures, you may be able to go home the same day; other procedures require a stay of one or more days in the hospital. Your surgeon should be able to tell you whether your procedure will be inpatient or outpatient.
- What can I expect during recovery? Find out the expectations for pain after the procedure, and what medicine you’ll be taking. Will you be bedridden, or in a wheelchair? What about long-term recovery?
- Will I be able to resume my usual activities, and when? At Polaris, your doctor and their mid-levels will help make a plan for you to get back to doing what you love. Asking this question gives you a realistic idea of the timeframe post-surgery, and what to expect.
- What is my long-term prognosis? This question puts the surgery in full context with your life. What are the chances of recurrence? Will this be an ongoing situation in your life, or an episode?
At Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery, we are committed to providing you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about any surgery your spine surgeon might recommend. To learn more, call us at 404.256.2633