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No one wants to be told they need surgery to treat low back pain or neck pain. Surgery can be a scary thing, and understanding the first steps to take can help you understand what to expect from spine surgery.

If you have back pain, then you understand how your symptoms can affect the way you move, work or enjoy your normal active lifestyle. Spinal pain can make sitting, standing or walking difficult, and treating your symptoms can be challenging.

There are many different causes of back pain, including:

  • Tumor
  • Vertebral compression fracture
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Scoliosis
  • Arthritis
  • Herniated discs

Most often, sciatica is caused by a pinched nerve in your spine. The goal of treatment is to decompress your nerve to help control your pain and improve your mobility. If conservative treatments like physical therapy or injections fail to offer you relief, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct your problem.

When your doctor recommends spinal surgery, you should take time to learn about what to expect from surgery. By knowing what is happening to you in regards to surgery, you can focus your attention on recovery from your procedure.

Spine Surgery: First Steps

When facing spinal surgery, your first steps should be to find a top-rated neurosurgeon who can explain to you the procedure that you need. Your doctor should be a compassionate professional and should take time to answer your questions and concerns about surgery. Your relationship should feel like a therapeutic alliance – both of you working together to improve your mobility and eliminate your pain.

To find the right neurosurgeon for your spine surgery procedure in NJ, you may need to do a little homework, including:

  • Asking your physician about top-rated neurosurgeons
  • Talking to family members or friends who have had surgery
  • Searching the internet for neurosurgeons with positive reviews

The most important aspect to finding the best neurosurgeon is that you must feel comfortable. Your spine surgeon should make you feel at ease about your pending operation and should help you understand your surgery and all that goes into it.

Understanding Surgery

Your neurosurgeon should work with you to help you understand the procedure that will be used to correct your spinal problem. Some spinal procedures may include:

  • Spinal fusion
  • Microdiscectomy
  • Laminectomy
  • Foraminotomy
  • Vertebral kyphoplasty

Each type of spine surgery is used to treat a different spinal condition. Your doctor will explain to you the type of procedure that is best for you.

An important consideration when facing spine surgery is the type of approach your neurosurgeon uses. Some old school neurosurgeons continue to use a standard open approach. This type of surgery requires a large incision and dissection of your spinal muscles. This may increase your risk of infection and blood loss.

Some New Jersey neurosurgeons are now using more innovative surgical techniques like minimally invasive spine surgery. This type of approach requires a tiny incision and sparing of your back muscles. This may carry less risk of blood loss and infection. The smaller incision typically means less pain for you and a rapid return to your active lifestyle.

When facing spinal surgery, it is a good idea to learn about minimally invasive spine surgery and find a top-rated neurosurgeon who practices this innovative approach to spine care. Doing so may mean a positive outcome with your spine surgery.

Find a Top-Rated Surgical Facility

It is important when investigating spine surgery procedures in NJ to learn about the different types of facilities that can provide your care. Many people wrongly feel that travel into NYC is necessary to get the best surgical care for spinal problems.

This is not true. Many New Jersey residents have found that hospitals close to home are the best option for them. Why? Local New Jersey surgical facilities offer many benefits, including:

  • Modern and clean facilities
  • Personalized care
  • Ease of travel to and from the surgical center
  • New and innovative equipment
  • Ample parking for your family and visitors
  • Staff that is responsive to your needs

Once you find a neurosurgeon to perform your spine surgery procedure in NJ, you can inquire about the facility where your surgery will take place. By working with the best neurosurgeon in a top-rated spine surgical center, you can optimize your experience and outcome with spine surgery.

Costs of Spine Surgery Procedures in NJ

Many people go into spine surgery with no idea of the financial implications that go with it. You should take time to learn about the cost that you may face with spine surgery. Some fees and costs that come with surgery may include:

  • Surgical facility fees
  • Insurance copays or deductibles
  • Cost of post-operative rehabilitation
  • Fees to ancillary practitioners like diagnosticians or anesthesiologists
  • Missed time at work
  • Travel costs to and from the surgical center

Some of these costs are up front and easy to understand. Other costs – like out of network facility fees – may be hidden and difficult to ascertain. Some doctors have insurance and financial specialists on staff to assist you in understanding the fees that come with surgery. When you have your financial situation in order, you can spend more time focusing on surgery and your recovery.

Preparing for Spine Surgery Procedures

When you are scheduled for spine surgery procedures in NJ, your neurosurgeon should take time to help you prepare for your operation. Your doctor should explain the risks and benefits of surgery, and he or she should offer you alternatives to surgery.

Some top-rated NJ neurosurgeons offer a pre-op class to patients that are having spine surgery. This class is an informational session that may teach you various things about your operation, including:

  • The members of the surgical team
  • The hospital and surgical areas
  • Types of equipment that may be used during and after your procedure
  • Exercises to do to help you prepare for surgery
  • What to expect during recovery

Doing the best prep work before surgery may make your experience a little less frightening. Be sure to follow all of your doctor’s preoperative instructions carefully when getting ready for spine surgery.

Recovery after Spine Surgery

Everyone heals differently after surgery. Some people seem to quickly feel and move better, and others may take a little time to get going after surgery. Different variables may dictate how quickly you return to your active lifestyle after surgery. These may include:

  • The type of surgery you have
  • The approach (open or minimally invasive) that your doctor employs
  • The chronicity of your condition
  • The amount of spinal damage you have prior to surgery
  • Your overall health

Most patients can expect to be home within a few days of spine surgery. Your doctor will encourage you to walk after surgery, and he may limit the amount of bending and lifting you do. Many patients can expect to return to work within a few weeks of spine surgery, and most people are back to their normal activities within a month or two.

Dealing with low back pain can be difficult, and facing surgery may be an anxiety-producing proposition. By discovering all you can about spine surgery procedures in NJ, you can make your surgical experience and outcome a positive one.
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