Herniated disc surgery: Choosing the right surgeon
For most of us who have experienced a herniated disc, the pain can be incredible. There are many different types of treatments to help you reduce the pain and heal the condition. However, for some people, no amount of treatment works and the last resort may be spine surgery.
If you have tried everything and been in regular discussion with your doctor throughout the process, you may have already discussed the possibility of surgery. The decision is not an easy one to take and there are many possible outcomes and things to consider relating to surgery. However, the one aspect of choosing to having herniated disc surgery is finding the best possible surgeon.
There are many different types of surgeons, some great, some bad and most are very good. The right surgeon for your surgery is a very important decision to make and not one that should be rushed into. This may sound difficult, especially if you are in pain an the herniated disc feels like it is destroying your life. We understand in this case that you may want to have surgery as soon as possible but the decision will live with you forever so make sure its a good one.
Questions to ask your herniated disc surgeon:
- What specific type of surgery will be done and why?
- Can they recommend a second opinion?
- Are all the non-surgical options exhausted?
- What procedure will be used?
- Can I speak with other past patients who had this type of surgery?
- How long will the surgery take?
- Are there any potential side-effects or risks?
- How long will the recovery period be?
- Will the surgeon perform the entire procedure?
- How many times have they performed this type of surgery? Success rates?
- What are the success rates for this type of surgery?
- Will I have to stay in hospital after the surgery? For how long?
- Will I have much pain after the surgery? How will the pain be managed?
- Aftercare? Who can I contact if I have any problems after the surgery?
- Are any limitation expected? If yes, for how long¡
- When can I start physical therapy after the surgery?
You need to remember that getting this information will put your mind at rest as well as giving you more confidence in your surgeon. Any surgeon that is not comfortable with these questions or is unable to answer them fully, might not be the surgeon for you.
Finally, we would recommend speaking to people who work in the hospital, possibly even people who work in the operating room. Calling the hospital and asking to speak to an operating room nurse or a nurse anesthetist to ask them their opinion on the particular surgeon may shed some light and help make up your mind for you. Also, you could ask them to recommend a surgeon that they would feel comfortable to choose for a family member, this would give you some valuable insights into which surgeon would be the best.