Did you know that educated patients have better outcomes? Prior research has demonstrated that when patients are educated and engaged in their care, it significantly improves outcomes.
Understanding your treatment options for a spinal diagnosis is a first step to success. It is important to ask any questions that you might have, especially before electing to have surgery. Here are 5 questions to ask as you talk with your spine surgeon.
- What is the underlying condition?
This is the starting point in education. Having a clear understanding of your diagnosis will help clarify what treatment may be necessary. It will also help you decide how you want to proceed and when to proceed with treatment – especially surgery.
- Are there alternative treatment options to surgery?
There are several steps in treating back pain, and surgery is almost always the last one. Most back pain will resolve without surgery, so it is important to explore all conservative treatment options.
- Is minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) an option for me?
Minimally invasive spine surgery is the latest advanced technology available. Surgery can be performed through incisions less than one-inch long. It involves the use of special surgical instruments, devices and advanced imaging techniques to visualize and perform the surgery through such small incisions. MISS is aimed at minimizing damage to the muscles and surrounding structures, enabling faster healing and a quicker return to daily activities.
- Should I seek a second opinion?
Any spinal diagnosis is a life-altering event. If you’ve been diagnosed and require surgery, it’s important to consider a second opinion. While a second opinion may or may not yield an alternative diagnosis or treatment plan, there is great emotional security that comes with a second doctor’s assurance. We offer second opinions to help evaluate and determine the best treatment options for you and your loved ones.
- What is recovery like after surgery?
Each individual is unique and we will discuss with you realistic expectations for your recovery should you elect to have surgery. Most patients can expect to be discharged home after an overnight stay or within a day or two after fusion surgery. You can begin driving a car in 1-2 weeks provided you have stopped taking pain medication. A timeline for returning to work will be determined for each individual patient. Your procedure and the nature of your work will determine when you can safely return to work.
At The Spine Clinic of Oklahoma City, we value patient education because we know that educated patients have better outcomes. It is our belief that a well-informed patient can better communicate their needs, wishes, and symptoms. These five questions can help start the conversation with your spine surgeon. What other questions do you have?
Dr. Brett Braly is a board-certified fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery. Dr. Braly is a leading advocate for minimally invasive techniques in spine surgery. Dr. Braly is named in the top “20 under 40” best spine surgeons by the North American Spine Society.