If your doctor has recommended you undergo surgery to treat your acoustic neuroma, the next step is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with and can trust with your procedure. Finding a neurosurgeon isn’t an everyday task, so to help you have a better idea of how to find your doctor, consider these qualities to look for and questions you might want to ask before making your final decision.
How Do I Search for a Surgeon?
One great way to find a neurosurgeon for your acoustic neuroma surgery is to ask friends and family members for recommendations. Seeking advice from people you know and trust can be useful, particularly when you know they value the same qualities you do. Because acoustic neuromas are rare, you may also want to ask for recommendations for brain tumor surgeons in general.
Another good source of information is the internet. Reading online reviews can give you a sense of a surgeon’s qualifications, bedside manner and practice atmosphere. Keep an eye open for comments that reflect qualities you are looking for as well as any red flags that might indicate the practice is not the right fit for you.
Finally, consider asking your insurance company or referring physician for recommendations. They may have a list of surgeons in your area who are experienced in acoustic neuroma surgery, which you can also use as a jumping-off point to begin your online search.
What Qualifications Should the Surgeon Possess?
As you are seeking out a neurosurgeon to treat your acoustic neuroma, it can be useful to determine beforehand which qualifications are important to you. You may find out that a particular quality, such as patience, is mentioned repeatedly by patients in online reviews. If that is a quality you personally find important, then it may be an indication that particular surgeon is the right one for you.
Some qualifications you may want to consider include:
Determine what qualities are important to you and you should be able to find someone who embodies most, if not all, of those traits. If you meet the surgeon and feel that you are not a good match, you likely aren’t and it’s okay to continue searching until you find a doctor who makes you comfortable through the entire process.
What Procedure Options Does the Surgeon Offer?
It is important to understand that not every surgeon will offer all types of acoustic neuroma treatment. You may find surgeons who prefer a single treatment option or make a single recommendation rather than considering multiple treatment options. Make sure you choose a doctor who is going to suggest the best solution for your individual case.
There two general categories of treatment for an acoustic neuroma, aside from observation and monitoring: stereotactic radiosurgery and traditional surgery. Stereotactic radiosurgery, in spite of its name, is not surgery at all, but instead a procedure using very focused radiation therapy to target your tumor.
Not all practices will offer both stereotactic radiosurgery and traditional surgery as options. It can be beneficial to find a practice that does, ensuring the treatment you receive is the one most suitable for your situation, based on the size and location of your tumor, your age and overall health status.
What Are Some Important Questions to Ask?
When you meet the surgeon for your first consultation appointment, be sure to have a list of questions prepared. This can help set your mind at ease about your upcoming treatment as well as help you feel comfortable with your choice of surgeon. You will likely have many questions of your own but some worth considering include:
- What kind of experience do you have?
- How many times have you performed this procedure?
- What are the risks of this procedure?
- What is the recovery timeline for this procedure?
- How do you expect my symptoms to resolve following this procedure?
The Right Doctor for You Is Out There
The extra work that you are putting into finding the right doctor to perform your acoustic neuroma surgery will ensure that you end up in the care of someone whose personality and delivery of care matches your needs. This ensures you are comfortable at all stages of your treatment, not only during but also before and after your surgery.
Keep in mind that the first person may not be the right person. You should keep looking for someone who puts you at ease and inspires confidence. You’ll know when you find the right doctor. Turn to friends and family, whose opinions you can trust, for suggestions. If you find yourself stuck, remember that your insurance company and referring doctor may be able to give you a referral to brain tumor surgeons who perform acoustic neuroma surgery, giving you a starting point.