Choosing the right spine surgeon in NJ is a task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Although most back surgeons can technically perform a wide array of surgeries, each will have their own special niches that help them stand apart from others. Seeking someone with a high level of expertise in performing the surgery needed for your condition will help maximize your chances of having a successful outcome.
Types of Spine Surgery
Your spine is a delicate and complex structure. The nerves for every single part of your body from the base of your skull down run through the center of your spine. As such, it’s essential that you find a surgeon that is completely familiar with the intricacies of the spine and knows the best ways to operate to preserve function.
There are numerous surgeries of the back that only a specialized spine surgeon should perform. Some of these include:
Laminectomy. This involves removing a portion of one or more vertebrae to relieve pressure on the spinal cord.
Discectomy. A discectomy is the removal of a damaged or herniated intervertebral disc, the rubbery pads that sit between each vertebra.
Fusion. A fusion surgery involves “fusing” one or more vertebrae together to create a solid column of bone.
Finding the Right Surgeon for You
One of the toughest parts of finding a good spine surgeon in NJ is knowing where to start. Friends, family and acquaintances will inevitably know of a surgeon that they’ll recommend. While this sort of information can sometimes be helpful, it’s important to understand no two spine problems are exactly the same. You need to be able to communicate with you surgeon and be listened to.
Your most important job right now is finding a surgeon that can competently perform the surgical procedure you require. Knowing how to begin the process can be a big challenge.
One of the best places to start your search for a back surgeon in NJ is with your insurance company. It is in their best interest that the surgery you receive is done in a manner that will produce the least number of potential complications or snags when all is said and done.
As such, they will have a comprehensive list of surgeons that accept your plan and have a proven track record in the area of spine surgery you require. When you receive this list, do your research.
As much as the internet is maligned, it can become an useful tool in your search for a back surgeon in NJ. Rating sites such as HealthGrades focus on medical practitioners only, allowing for a complete search of all of the neurosurgeons in your area that specialize in spine surgery. However, be wary of comments written by disgruntled or even non-operative patients.
Check out not only the surgeons on the list from your insurance company but also those that perform your specifically needed procedure.
Word of Mouth
If you know of someone that has been through the same surgery you require and is happy with their results, ask them who did their surgery! Sometimes first-hand knowledge of a back surgeon can help you either shortlist or skip over a surgeon altogether.
Your referring physician may also know of someone that specializes in the area of back surgery you’re seeking. If they don’t voluntarily offer a referral, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Important Questions to Ask Your Neurosurgeon
To make sure you’re choosing the right spine surgeon, there are certain questions you should ask every candidate.
Spine surgery is a complicated procedure, regardless of the type of surgery you need. Choosing a surgeon who’s performed many of these surgeries is going to be the best choice. They will have seen a number of different anomalies and will be familiar with the finer details for making a good surgery great.
Some questions you should consider asking your neurosurgeon:
- How long have they been in practice?
- Do they hold a board certification in neurosurgery?
- How many surgeries like yours have they performed?
- How often do they do such surgeries?
- Do they have a specific procedure they excel at?
- What is their success rate?
- Will they continue with your follow-up care after your surgery?
- What technique(s) would they be using in your particular case?
- What would the expect your recovery timeline to look like?
Your Comfort Should Be the #1 Priority
Last, but certainly not least, make sure you find a spine surgeon with whom you feel completely comfortable. Trust should be the foundational building block for your relationship with your healthcare providers. This is doubly true for your surgeon.
Make certain that he or she is truly interested in you and your wellbeing. They should always listen and provide you with thoughtful, in-depth answers to your questions and address your concerns with compassion.
Finding the right spine surgeon in NJ shouldn’t ever feel like an impossible task. Don’t settle for anything but the very best when it comes to your ongoing health.