Practice Blog

Top 3 Questions to Ask Your Spine Specialist Before Surgery

August 30, 2021

Analyst results from the year 2018 reported that approximately 1.62 million spinal surgeries are performed each year in the United States. The spine is not only responsible for providing the body with its basic structure and support, but it also serves to protect major nerves in the body that are located in the spinal cord. These nerves allow the body to communicate movement and sensation.

Since the spine is fundamental for performing everyday functions, finding the right spine specialist is critical. For any potential spine surgery candidate, make sure to ask these three questions before a procedure!

1. What Surgery is Being Performed?

The spine and spinal cord are complex parts of the body, and thus surgery comes with a lot of risks. It is important to know which part of the spine is being operated on, and why that is the best course of treatment. Some of the most common spinal procedures include spinal fusion, disc removal or replacement, spinal decompression, and vertebroplasty.

Spinal fusion is when a spine doctor fuses two vertebrae in the spine. This treatment is often recommended to treat scoliosis or other spinal malformations to improve movement and reduce pain.

Disc removal or replacement has many causes, such as normal wear and tear, lack of exercise, or incorrect movement.

Surgery is performed when a disc irritates the nerves, resulting in pain in the lower back, and sometimes numbness or weakness of the limbs.

Spinal decompression is performed to correct the narrowing of the spine. When narrowing of the spine occurs, the nerves become compressed and may result in chronic pain and numbness. Although this surgery is common, it is typically recommended when non-surgical options have proven to be ineffective.

Finally, there is vertebroplasty, which is a surgical procedure that corrects bone fractures. A spine doctor will inject a type of cement that hardens the bones to restore stability and movement. This type of procedure is common among osteoporosis patients.

2. What Happens Without Surgery?

Knowing the type of surgery that is being performed will help prepare patients for the type of risks and recovery times to expect. However, it is important to discuss with a spine specialist some alternatives to surgery, and what the consequences might be of not going through with a procedure.

There are several non-surgical options for spinal care that may reduce pain or prevent further injury.

For example, some spinal surgeons will recommend increasing exercise, improving posture, and engaging in healthier lifestyle habits.

3. Credentials and Reviews

Finally, every potential patient should ask their spine specialist about their credentials, specifically their surgery outcomes and experience.

Many patients feel more comfortable seeking out specialists that have a multitude of experience with a particular surgery. Sometimes specialists will even give referrals to previous patients that received a similar treatment and can offer an authentic review of their experience.

Finding a Spine Specialist

Undergoing spine surgery is not something to be taken lightly, which is why it is critical to find the best spinal specialist near you for your spinal care needs. Throughout the search process, consider asking potential specialists these three questions to get a better understanding of what to expect from a procedure.

If you’re looking for a Clearwater spine doctor or Tampa Bay spine doctor, contact us to schedule an appointment!

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