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Dr. Qualities

deloriearddeloriear Posts: 19
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
As I'm looking into Dr's (NS) for my issues, what qualities in a Dr. have some of you looked for? I'm sure this will very with different personalities, but I've been reading lots on here and see many Dr's are not very kind to our pain. What should I look for in my researching a NS? Thanks!


  • My NS came recomended from several people in the community. I asked my friends and acquaintances as well as nurses in the local hospitals if they could recomend any surgeons and it was unanimous. When my PCP finally gave me a referral for NS it was the same man. It is interesting now that I have recovered from the lumbar and I am waiting for the neck. I meet new people once in awhile and they tell me that they had their this or that worked on and over half the time they say my NS name and how they love their new necks or backs etc.... I live in a small town very remote to any major city and there are only 2 Neuro Surgeon offices and I think 6 or 7 NS between the 2.

    When I first started-I had been very stressed out after reading how aweful the ego of a NS was and meeting mine was nothing like I expected. He was kind, he asked me questions, we looked at the MRI films together he pointed out the small problems and ordered more exams.

    The second visit I remember thanking him for being nice and joking with him a little about the "NS" ego and he knows that many of his co-workers have the same reputation.

    He is a cool person- we talk politics and family not just 5 minutes of cutting.When I had my PLIF the anestesiologist couldn't get my IV in. I woke up with terrible bruises all over both my arms. My NS said he ended up putting the IV in (that is how he paid his way through the NS specialty). He is multi talented and not afraid to help.

    I asked him once how he prepares for the surgery and he said he thinks about it for days before he does one. He wants to make sure he is giving the patient the best possible outcome and he does not take it lightly. If he doesn't think he can help you surgically he wont even see you.

    Oh and I wanted to mention that not once has he said I was fat and to loose weight :O) Usually they tell you that if your plump.


  • Be sure your surgeon is a fellowship-trained spinal specialist. This can be either an orthopedic spinal surgeon or a neurosurgeon who devotes his practice to issues of the back and spine. (Fellowship training is the highest level of training for these specialties -- this is in the US -- I don't know how they train in other parts of the world)

    Second, academic credentials are important to me. I always look to see where the surgeon went to medical school, did his residency, and particularly, where the spinal fellowship was done. I recognize that there is not necessarily a correlation between the quality of the surgeon and the quality of the academic programs...but it is something that is important to me.

    Look at the surgeon's experience...how many surgeries he has performed of the type you might require, etc. You will notice that some have particular interest in a couple areas...try to match up your problems with the surgeon's interests.

    If it seems you will need surgery, you want the best technician you can find -- the rest is less important. You can always find a pain management doctor if your surgeon turns out to have strange ideas about pain control.
  • The others have giving some great advice. The only thing I would add is after surgery how readily available is he/she to you. Are they willing to give a email address if you need a question answered. How will the correspond to you following a surgery. Will they follow your case after surgery or will you be seeing a PA. I have seen to many after surgery say they had no more contact with the surgeon, and felt abandoned. Just another thing to ask about so you have no surprises.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,862

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I agree.

    Open Mindedness
  • I believe that in addition to the fantastic suggestions here, you have to have 100% confidence in your surgeon. I couldn't imagine letting someone work on my spine if I wasn't positive that they could and would make the right decision as to what needed to be done and do it well.
  • I like a doctor who is open to information and then confident in what they decide to do. I hate it when they tell you to try something. I expect him/her to know what the answer is.

    Second is the office staff. If they are good they will take care of you. The surgeon I think I am going with has a terrific staff. They just called to apologize and ask if I could come in 45 mins later for an appointment next week. Most would let you sit and wait instead of calling. And the woman was apologizing for having to change the time!!

    Another important thing to consider is the hospital they will use. Do they have a dedicated NS unit or are you in with general surgery patients. ANd is the doctor part of the hospital group or just on his own.
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