By Kornelis Poelstra on 2021-05-27

5 Important Questions to Ask Your Spine Specialist Before Back Surgery

Each year more than 1 million spinal procedures are carried out in the USA alone. Americans, including those in the greater Las Vegas, NV area are an increasingly ‘at risk’ population for spinal injury and conditions. 

Sedentary lifestyles, poor diets, obesity, hunched over desk work, looking down at phones for hours on end, are all major contributors.

If you find yourself among the more than 1 million Americans needing spinal procedures each year, you likely have questions. Even if you don’t, there are a few things you need to ask your spine surgeon in Las Vegas, NV prior to undergoing the knife or laser.

1. WHY DO I NEED BACK SURGERY?

First and foremost, it is important that you understand exactly why the recommended back surgery is necessary.

Be sure to ask your surgeon how this particular procedure correlates to your specific spinal diagnosis, including the benefits that are expected as a result of the surgery. 

For example, is the purpose of this surgical recommendation to improve mobility? Will it help in reducing the symptoms of your diagnosis? Will it eliminate or relieve pain? This will help you discover if the benefits of the spinal surgery outweigh the current problems.

2. WHAT ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS ARE THERE?

When it comes to spinal conditions, surgery is typically a last resort. Make sure to ask your surgeon if there are any alternative options that can be explored before committing to spinal surgery.

This may include non-surgical treatments, other conventional options, or even a temporary holistic substitute that may suffice in place of immediate surgery. Be sure that you have exhausted all possible options before jumping into the operation chair. But never try out any alternative treatments without first consulting with your spine specialist, and report back to your surgeon about previous alternatives that have lessened and/or aggravated your symptoms thus far.

3. WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF SPINE SURGERY?

All surgeries have inherent risks.  It is imperative that you ask your surgeon what types of risks are involved with the proposed surgery, especially those which may be specific to your unique medical condition or history. 

A variety of factors can contribute to risks, including but not limited to age, allergies, fitness, health and medical history, medications taken, genetics, past injuries and more. It is important that your doctor goes over any issues that could pose an obstacle, setback, or complication. This includes management of possible side effects such as soreness, pain, and swelling.

4. WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I DON’T GET THIS SURGERY?

After learning about the risks, benefits, pain management, and alternative options, ask your surgeon what the worst-case scenario would be if you chose not to get the recommended spinal procedure. 

Knowing what to expect, when, and to what degree can help you better evaluate your choices regarding treatment, and/or the timing of the procedure itself.

5. WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS TYPE OF SURGERY FOR PATIENTS LIKE ME?

Finally, ask your surgeon about his or her experience with this type of procedure as well as the previous results, outcomes, and success rates. 

Were these other surgeries performed as a result of a different spinal diagnosis? How many times have the results been successful and how many times have they failed? What was the aftermath of a patient who got this surgery and did not benefit? Were there complications? What type of experience does this surgeon have and for how long? Is it possible to talk to a previous patient to get their perspective as someone who has also gotten this operation under your surgeon’s care? 

These are important questions that should never be ignored before choosing to go down the path of spinal surgery. More questions? Contact The Robotic Spine Institute of Las Vegas today for a free consultation.

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