Considering Back Surgery, Things to Ask When Selecting a Spinal Surgeon

Considering Back Surgery, Things to Ask When Selecting a Spinal Surgeon

Do you have a history of chronic back pain? Are you considering back surgery? If so, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that each year approximately 600,000 people in the United States will have back surgery.

Surgery of any type is a major consideration, and selecting the right physician to perform your spine surgery is critical to a successful outcome. General questions you should ask when seeking the right spinal surgeon include:

  1. What treatment options were suggested?
    Back surgery is not the only treatment option available. Were you given a comprehensive evaluation to identify the best plan of action that’s customized for your needs? Were other, noninvasive methods tried before surgery was suggested?
  2. Do you feel informed?
    Your spine surgeon is there to not only perform the surgery but also to explain the process, the risks and potential complications as well as the post-op care and recovery. Were you able to ask questions, and do you feel comfortable with the decision to have surgery?
  3. What type of surgeon should perform your back surgery?
    Neurosurgeons have extensive additional fellowship training in spine surgery beyond that of a general surgeon and perform surgeries that non-neurosurgical spine surgeons can’t perform. Also, spine cases make up 70% of the cases neurosurgeons see in training and practice, a far greater percentage than other types of surgical specialties.
  4. What is the main focus of the surgeon’s medical practice?
    A surgeon whose practice is focused on comprehensive spinal care and spine surgery will be more up-to-date with treatment options and surgical techniques than a physician who performs occasional spinal surgery. Ask how often the surgeon has performed the procedure and his or her success rate.
  5. What can you expect in terms of the healing process and clinical outcomes?
    While every patient is different, an experienced surgeon who performs a procedure on a regular basis can provide general guidelines as to the expected postoperative healing and progress at different milestones.

Dr. Marano has been providing comprehensive spinal care to the people of Eastern Idaho for more than 30 years. He brings a high level of expertise and experience to the care of each and every patient seen at Spine Surgery of Idaho. If you’ve been experiencing back pain and are considering surgery or would like a second opinion, we encourage you to make an appointment today… and to bring this list in along with your own questions. You can call 208-522-6930, or go online to schedule an appointment.