Questions to Ask Your Back Doctor Before Surgery

When diagnosed with back pain, some people think that means surgery is inevitable. While that may have been true years ago, for some patients I see, surgery can be delayed or avoided. Having surgery on your back or spine is a big decision, and you’ll want to make sure it’s the right decision for you. In order to understand all the elements that go into a recommendation to schedule a surgery, OrthoNebraska recommends you ask the following questions:

  1. What type of surgery is being recommended? Ask how the surgery will address the symptoms you have been discussing with your back doctor.
  2. Do I have any non-surgical options? Good surgeons will be able to go over these options and why they believe surgery to be a better option for you.
  3. How long will recovery take? You will need to plan for immediate caregiving, recovering to the point of independence for daily activities and a rough expectation of when you can return to work, if applicable.
  4. What are the long-term consequences of the procedure? It’s important to know if your procedure has risks such as degeneration at other levels of the spine or needing to repeat the procedure sometime down the line.
  5. How many of these surgeries have you done and what is your personal success rate? If yours is a common procedure, your back doctor should be able to give you solid estimates, such as “I perform this surgery about twice a week. About 80 percent of my patients similar to you are doing much better, 10 percent are only a little bit better, while the last 10 percent don’t feel the procedure helped them.”

Ultimately, the right time for surgery is when both you and your back doctor feel it’s the right option. OrthoNebraska, by offering physicians specialized in managing back pain both surgically and non-surgically, can focus on offering you the absolute best treatment for you as an individual.

If you would like to make an appointment with one of our back doctors, please call us at (402) 609-3000. We would be happy to assess you, provide a diagnosis and discuss all your treatment options.

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