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Questions for surgeon

TomophobicTTomophobic Posts: 25
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have scheduled appointments with two different neurosurgeons for surgery consultation. One of them I saw back in November of last year who said I needed a fusion for my spondylothesis and a laminectomy (I don't know if I spelled this correctly) for my stenosis/sciatica. He would use a Ortho to do the fusion and he would do the laminectomy. I have been avoiding this up until now and am going to schedule surgery for January, if possible. I scheduled the other for a second opinion, just to be on the safe side. I wanted to ask you well seasoned spinys what questions would you suggest I ask them. I am soo overwhelmed by the whole thing and I know you all will have great suggestions. I am very, very nervous about the ability of them treating my pain as I will be about 100 miles away during recovery.


  • First of all be sure you are going to a fellowship-trained orthopedic spinal surgeon or neurosurgeon (if you're in the US -- I don't know how other countries train their specialists.)

    I have never heard of a neurosurgeon only doing part of the fusion procedure. When they go in from the front and the back (the so-called "360") it is customary to have a general surgeon do the incision from the front and move the organs out of the way to expose the spine...but I've never heard of what yours is proposing.

    The laminectomy is usually just a small part of the procedure when performing a fusion. So first, I would ask about that!!

    Otherwise, read through this list: http://www.spine-health.com/blog/surgery/38-questions-ask-your-surgeon-having-back-surgery

    It will suggest to you the type of things you may want to find out.

    I guess the most important thing to understand is why do you need the surgery and whether there are alternatives. In addition to the doctor's experience, find out where he operates and whether there is a choice of hospitals. You can ask for names of other patients that he has performed similar surgeries on so you can talk with them.

    I would also find out about their after-care...how long do they continue to see you, what about pain medication after surgery? Is it limited to a specific time period? Will they continue to prescribe pain meds if you need them? What is their policy in this regard?

    If the specialists' qualifications are fairly similar, then you need to see which doctor you feel most comfortable having a long-term relationship with.

    I'm sure others will chime in with other suggestions. Glad to see you're doing your "homework" prior to signing up for such a big surgery.

    xx Gwennie
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