Spinal surgery can be daunting, and it is no wonder. You are going under the knife to try and rectify a painful problem that has been debilitating for a long time. The recovery time can be lengthy, and worse; things could go wrong. Any surgery comes with risks attached.
No matter how skilled the surgeon is, it is natural that you should have fears. Asking your spine surgery doctor these 7 questions before you agree to their services can help alleviate those fears.
The 7 Essential Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Your Spine Surgery
There are 7 key questions to ask your doctor about your spine surgery before the procedure. Here is what you ought to ask.
1 – What will happen during the procedure?
Spine surgery can take hours. New Jersey has some of the best medical care in the country. It can be a quick procedure performed while you are awake, such as those offered by Awake Spinal Fusion in Edison, NJ. It may also require you to be unconscious. You could develop a scar due to open spine surgeries, or you could have a surgeon fix your spine problem using keyhole surgery. One common thread connects all types of spine surgery, and that is your knowledge. The more you know about what they are doing when they are performing your operation, the easier it will feel to let them take charge.
2 – How long is my recovery time?
Depending on your operation, surgery can last a few hours. After surgery, you will still feel the effects of any numbing agents or medications. After this wears off, your doctor may prescribe other pain management medications or anti-inflammatories to help treat the pain. It can take between 4 and 6 weeks to recover a proficient level of mobility after surgery. Your doctor will give you guidance on what you can and cannot do while you recover. Pay attention to their warnings and follow them.
3 – What are the risks, if any?
Different surgeries have different risks. You may endure recurring symptoms, infections from the operation, blood clots, leakage from spinal fluid, and other health risks. If your doctor judges the risk of these secondary ailments to be too great, they will suggest alternatives to spine surgery. In most cases, the benefits will outweigh the potential risks.
4 – What are the success rates of the surgery?
As always, the precise success rates will vary as per your condition. However, scientific papers suggest that the rate of successful spinal surgeries lies between 50 and 96%. There is a condition named Failed Back Surgery Syndrome which describes the cases where surgery was unsuccessful. These numbers represent the failed primary operations. You may have the option of a second attempt.
5 – Are there any alternatives to spine surgery?
Usually, your doctor will only resort to surgery if they have eliminated all other channels. If not, they may suggest other treatment options before they get as far as surgery. Similarly, your doctor won’t advise surgery if there is any threat to your health due to existing medical conditions. In spine health, surgery is only ever a last resort.
6 – Is there anything I can do personally to improve the chance of a successful spine surgery?
There will be things you can do to speed up recovery. You should get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy diet. You should also do the correct exercises as shown by your doctor. Avoid lifting or extraneous exercise until you recover.
7 – How many of these procedures has the surgeon performed before?
It makes sense that a more experienced surgeon is less likely to make a mistake. Ask the doctor how much experience your surgeon has and judge the results for yourself.
Ready for Spine Surgery?
If you have asked and answered all these questions with your doctor, you should be ready to take the plunge.