If you have back pain or sciatica, your doctor may recommend you have surgery to correct your condition and help you return to your previous active lifestyle. When you are facing spine surgery, you likely have many questions and concerns. One of the common questions that many New Jersey residents facing spine surgery have is, “Where do I start?”
You maximize your chances of having the best possible outcome with your surgery if you are well prepared and know what to expect from the procedure. Finding the right doctor at the right facility can help you on your road to recovery.
Making sure your doctor performs the right surgical procedure for your condition is also important when evaluating New Jersey spine surgeons.
Where Should I Start?
When facing spine surgery, you need to find the best spine doctors in New Jersey. Your spine surgeon should:
- Listen to and answer your questions and concerns
- Use modern and innovative techniques
- Practice with a compassionate staff that understands all aspects of spine care
- Be a leader and educator in their field
- Treat you with respect and dignity through the entire spine surgery process
Your search for finding the right spine surgeon in New Jersey may take several different steps. First, speak with your family physician and make sure you relay your concerns. He or she likely knows some of the best spine surgeons in your area.
Ask some friends or family members for recommendations as well. People who have had great experiences with their spine surgeon are usually happy to share their positive stories with you. People who have had negative experiences may be able to tell you which spine doctors in NJ to avoid.
Another great way to find an excellent spine surgeon in New Jersey is to simply check the internet. Many websites offer patient generated reviews of doctors, and you may be able to find a top-rated surgeon.
However, the best way to find the right NJ spine surgeon is to meet with different spine surgeons. Have a conversation with your doctor, and be sure he or she answers all of your questions.
Your surgeon should be able to answer your questions and concerns with professionalism and respect. Ask about your specific condition and find out which surgical procedure is right for you.
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery vs Open Spine Surgery
When managing spinal problems surgically, there are two different classes of procedures – minimally invasive spine surgery and open spine surgery.
Minimally invasive spine surgery is a newer procedure that many top-rated NJ spine surgeons are using. This type of surgery involves using a small incision and specialized tools to visualize the structures of your spine.
These tools are then used to help decompress your spinal nerves to relieve your pain and improve your mobility. Minimally invasive spine surgery takes skill to master, but recovery is usually much easier with this type of surgery when compared to the standard open spine surgery.
Open spine surgery is performed with a large incision. The muscles of your back are cut through and retracted out of the way, and your surgeon visualizes your spinal structures.
Your doctor then uses surgical tools to cut away any bone or disc material that may be pressing against your spinal nerves, helping to relieve pain and improve your function.
Both minimally invasive and open spine surgery procedures seek to accomplish the same goals: decompress your spinal nerves to relieve pain and improve your mobility.
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery: Pros and Cons
There are many reasons why you should find a surgeon who performs minimally invasive spine surgery and a few situations where the minimally invasive approach is not used.
The pros of minimally invasive spine surgery include:
- Smaller incision
- Your back muscles are not removed from their attachments on your spine
- Less blood loss
- Faster recovery time
- Less pain
- Less risk of infection
The positive aspects of minimally invasive spine surgery typically mean that you will recover faster with less pain and be able to return to your active lifestyle quickly.
The cons of minimally invasive spine surgery include:
- Difficulty for your spine surgeon to visualize all of your spinal structures
- Not all back and neck conditions are able to be treated with the minimally invasive procedure
Remember that the goal of spine surgery is to decompress your spinal nerves to eliminate your pain and improve your ability to engage in your normal activities. The pros and cons of this type of procedure should be discussed with your doctor to see if it is right for you.
Open Spine Surgery: Pros & Cons
Some surgical procedures may need to be done with the open approach. This traditional approach to spine surgery is one that many surgeons perform.
Pros of open spine surgery include:
- Allows your doctor to visualize your spine
- Instruments are easily introduced into the surgical field
The cons of the open spine surgery procedure include:
- Large incision
- Greater chance of blood loss and infection
- Your back muscles are retracted out of place, leading to a longer recovery time
- Increased pain when compared to minimally invasive surgery
- Increased risk of infection
Work closely with your surgeon to decide which procedure is right for you. Be sure your doctor answers all of your questions and helps put you at ease when choosing to have surgery.
Dealing with back pain or sciatica can be a difficult thing to do. When you are facing surgery for your condition, it is important to take the proper steps in finding the right surgeon for you.
The best doctor for you will help to put your mind at ease about the surgery so you can focus on your recovery and returning to your normal recreational and work related activities quickly and safely.