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Should I or Shouldn/t I ?

There are a group of topics that show up so very frequently. One of them is about Surgery and the question is always should I have it or not?

This thread is just a simple summary of the thought process that you may go through in making your decision

Personal Choice
The decision to have spinal surgery is very personal. There are many factors and variables that come into play. Some are:

  • - Trust and Confidence in your doctor(s)
    - After surgery, will you have help at home or do you need to do it alone?
    - Potential impacts on your current occupation. How long will your company allow to be out? If you are self employed, how will the business still run?
Hospital and Staff
This is something sometimes people over look. You have all the confidence in your surgeon. In the scope of everything, his job while detailed
is not the around the clock care you will be needing. After surgery, many times you may be seen by one of the doctor's PAs and not the doctor themselves.
Do you know the PA's? Nurses are the ones that check up on you on a regular basis. Today, many hospitals have gone through cutbacks so that one nurse
may cover an entire floor, while there are a number of "techs" that are the ones that will see you. Prior to surgery, I would talk to the Hospital administration
and ask to meet the Nurse(s) who cover the floor that you will be on. Find out the ratio of patient to nurse to tech, etc Nurses play a big role in making
your hospital stay more comfortable.

Why the surgery?
What exactly has your doctor told you that requires surgery? Have you had a second opinion? Many disc related problems can be treated by
conservative methods. But the answer to this one has to come from your doctor.

Pros and Cons
Now that you know that surgery is in order, what are the Pro points in having the surgery done?

  • - Eliminate current painful condition
    - Allow you to do more after recovery
But what if you dont have the surgery, what does that mean?

  • - Any permanent problems?
    - Condition getting worse.
And of course can I wait to have surgery? If so how long can I wait and will that create a problem?

Before Surgery
I am sure that your doctor will discuss all the things you need to do prior to surgery.

  • - Stop smoking (if you are a smoker)
    - Loose weight (if you are overweight)
    - What medications can you continue to take and which ones do you have to stop and when?
For your home.

  • - Will you be able to get around yourself?
    - Setting up an area so that you will have a phone, TV,, etc easily accessible?
    - Food and Beverages in your house that you can have
    - Chairs, comfortable sitting arrangement (recliner,etc)
    - Sleeping environment
    - Are there stairs involved?
Once the surgery is done, there will generally be a 'grace' period of time when you stay home and begin your recovery.
That could be 3 weeks, more or less depending on your doctor. It seems that more and more doctors want their patients
up and about very quickly. I know for my shoulder and hip total replacements, they had me up and around the next day.

  • - What about Physical Therapy?
    - When can I driver again?
    - When can I go back to work?
    - What are my restrictions and limitations? and for how long?
I created this thread just as a quick summary card for patients when surgery is being suggested. By no means is thread
100% complete, nor is it 100% medically correct. It is based on my 7 Spinal surgeries and 4 Joint surgeries, so surgery to
me has become more routine.

When in doubt ALWAYS ask your doctor
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
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