Spinal stenosis can be debilitating, but with a skilled surgeon you can achieve relief from the pain and discomfort caused by this condition. Naturally, you need to seek a diagnosis first, but when your condition has been identified and confirmed, you can begin your search for the right surgeon and hospital.
You need to look from all angles, including location, specializations, support staff — the list goes on. If this is your first time undergoing surgery, or you weren’t happy with your last experience, you may find this guide helpful in choosing the perfect fit.
We’re taught that it’s impolite to be nosy or ask too many questions. However, in the case of finding the perfect surgeon and spine center, you need to abandon that mindset. You’re dealing with your health and well-being, so you deserve to know exactly what a center can offer and its stance on certain topics. For instance, you should ask questions such as:
- How many spinal stenosis surgeries have been performed there?
- How many of those are by the surgeon you’d be working with?Fsp
- Is he or she board-certified?
- What is the center’s complication rate for this particular procedure?
- Does it accept your insurance?
- Is there a list of other patients who have undergone the same surgery that you can speak with?
- Can you speak with some of the support staff that you’ll be dealing with after your surgery?
- Is it a stand-alone center, or will you be mixed in with the general hospital population for recovery?
Of course this only scratches the surface of the questions you could ask, but it gives you a general idea of the types of things you can and do have a right to inquire about.
Get a Second Opinion
Unless you feel fully comfortable with the first surgeon you interview, go ahead and seek a second opinion (and third and fourth, if necessary). Your health and well-being are at stake, and you shouldn’t go into surgery second-guessing your decision. Second opinions often allow you to notice the finer details; each practice you interview may bring up important details the other didn’t — details that make or break your final decision. When it comes down to it, finding a qualified spine center you fully trust to perform your cervical spinal stenosis surgery is the most important key for a successful and relatively uneventful recovery.
Location, Location, Location
Location can be a huge factor in where you choose to have your cervical spinal stenosis surgery, as the convenience of having a spine center closer to home is of great value. Most importantly, you won’t have the added expenses of travel and post-surgical recovery away from home. Often, you’ll need to see your surgeon a handful of times shortly after your cervical spinal stenosis surgery to ensure that everything is healing properly and that you’re making the sort of progress they’d like to see.
Another advantage of finding a spine center close to home is the familiarity that referring doctors and other professionals have with its reputation and surgeons. Your personal GP or spinal specialist may be able to provide you with valuable insight into whether it’s wiser to stick close to home or venture further out to find a different practice. Don’t hesitate to ask for multiple referrals; they should be able to provide you with more than one.
The amenities offered by your prospective surgery center should meet or exceed your expectations. Find out how long they expect you to stay post-surgery. Don’t hesitate to ask if you can tour the entire facility beforehand to get an idea of what it offers and its general atmosphere. Here are a few things to look for and ask about:
- If it doesn’t have on-site care, where are you referred for your in-house recovery?
- Does it offer comfortable, relaxing private rooms?
- Do those rooms have everything you’d need or want, such as a phone, television and private bathroom?
- How many individuals are assigned to you per shift?
- Once you’ve completed your post-surgery stay, can you continue physical therapy there?
- Does it offer a wide range of dietary options for those with special requirements or preferences?
- Are there amenities for your family, such as a cafeteria or lounge?
- What are the visitation policies?
- After you’ve returned home, can you still get follow-up care, such as imaging and consultations, at the spine center?
As you can see, there’s a tremendous amount of detail that goes into finding the best spine center for your cervical spinal stenosis surgery. With some careful research, you can find the perfect fit for you and your needs.