The National Institute of Neurological Disorders records that almost 80% of Americans will experience back pain that requires treatment.
If you’re reading this article chances are that you or a loved are one of that 80%. You may need surgery, and you desire a spine surgeon.
But how are you supposed to choose a surgeon?
Read on for our fail-safe tips when choosing the right spine surgeon for you!
1. Do Some Research Beforehand
Most patients commence the search for a spinal surgeon Basingstoke because their primary care physicians can’t treat their back pain. Your PCP may provide you with a referral.
But we still recommend researching other potential candidates. Here are some basic qualifications that the surgeon should meet.
Are They Board Certified?
A board-certified surgeon is a doctor who completed additional training through the American Board of Medical Specialties. The ABMS establishes standards of excellence in education and practice to boost a patient’s quality of care.
The American Board of Medical Specialties website comes with an online recognition tool you are able to use to verify that your physician is board certified.
And most spine surgeons will likewise have their ABMS certificate on display in their office.
What Are the Details of the Surgeon’s Training?
After medical school, all surgeons undergo three additional training phases.
Internship (usually one year)
Residency (between 4-6 years)
Fellowship (usually one year)
There are two different categories under the umbrella of spinal surgery. Identify whether your procedure is known as orthopedic (bone related) or neuro (nerve related).
You can verify that your potential surgeon specialized in the main one relevant to the needs you have and condition. Most doctors list their specialties and fellowship on the clinic or hospital website.
Read Some Reviews
Websites like HealthGrades give past patients an possibility to rate their physicians on the scale of 1-5 stars.
While these reviews are honest, it pays to use them with a grain of salt. Patients who have had negative experiences may leave a review than patients with good ones. So review websitha sido are often more representative of the bad outcomes.
You should let these reviews factor in part of your decision, but never almost all of it.
2. Have a Consultation With Your Potential Spine Surgeon
An easy way to filter through spine surgeon individuals is to call their offices and have for an appointment. Most of them will encourage and invite you to meet with the surgeon beforehand, but some of them won’t.
If a doctor isn’t willing to provide you an opportunity to meet them prior to a procedure you should immediately cross them off your list.
Talk to Nurses and Staff
You can learn a lot about a doctor based off of what their associates say about them. You’ll have an opportunity to interact with staff and nurses both on the telephone and in person during the consultation process.
Nurses especially have a clear perspective on the grade of care and outcomes because they are present before, during, and after every surgery. They begin to see the whole process and can offer invaluable input.
Ask things like:
If your parent/child needed surgery would you bring them here?
If you needed surgery, is this the surgeon you’ll choose?
Can you share a recent successful outcome?
A nurse can give no higher praise than “this is actually the surgeon I sent my mom to.” But if all they can say is “this surgeon is an extremely wonderful person” that might be a red flag.
Come Prepared With Lots of Questions
You should do some research before your consultation on what your trouble or recommended procedure involves. For the people of us that didn’t attend medical school, that kind of research provides up many questions.
Make a list and take it with you to your consultation. A good spine surgeon will listen to your questions, validate your concerns, and answer them.
If the doctor makes you feel silly or uncomfortable for asking questions you can and should cross them off your list of candidates. Your consultation is only the first of many interactions you’ll have with the surgeon who performs your procedure, and in the event that you feel like you can’t ask them questions you’ll end up going through the task blind.
Ask If Surgery is Absolutely Necessary
Consultations with a specialist often reveal that less invasive techniques could resolve a condition or help treat pain. If it’s possible, you should explore any potential non-surgical treatment plans before committing to surgery.
A good physician understands that surgery is painful and always involves recovery and can help you realize any other options prior to scheduling a surgery.
3. Do Some More Research After Your Consultation
Once you’ve met with a potential surgeon there is certainly some necessary research that remains before you make your final decision.
Ask For Patient References
Before you leave your consultation you should ask your physician if they provides you with any patient references.
Keep in mind that HIPAA laws prevent them from sharing any kind of patient information without that patient’s consent.
So while they might not have a list available immediately for you, they might offer to send you one once they’ve had an possibility to seek the permission of their previous patients.
If they are able to provide you with a list, use it! Several good questions to ask previous patients include:
4. Trust Your Instincts!
Once you’ve researched, met with, and considered your options it’s time to make a decision.
While they’re not quantifiable, your instincts should be a aspect in your decision.