A thorough research and homework is a must for individuals when making purchases (both big and small). In fact, people are known to spend over hours in front of their computer screens probing for reviews on various products, reading consumer reports, and even asking for opinions on social media.
Unfortunately, no research work is done when it comes to choosing spine specialists and other medical professionals. This makes them fall into the trap of money minded, less qualified professionals.
So what to do? There are a number of things one can do in this regard. Here’s a list to help you get an idea on then dos and don’ts of choosing a spine surgeon:
Ortho and Neuro – Understand the Difference
Are you aware of the difference between ortho and neuro? Well, you must know this to be able to reach out to the right professional for your condition. Although both surgeons specialize in spinal surgeries, their training is different. Orthopedics are known for diagnosing and treating bone and joint disorders including skeletal deformities, arthritis, joint replacements, sports injuries, and bone tumors.
If a spine surgeon is fellowship-trained, he is a professional who wants to specialize in spine surgery. He had made the extra investment in training to emerge as more skilled in that specific area. In this case, the spine fellowships include at least one additional year of specialized spine training.
Make sure you enquire the prospective surgeon how long he/she has been practicing. Also try and understand their area of expertise. Go ahead only if you are comfortable with the experience of surgeon.
Avoid Relying Solely on Referrals
Although many referrals turn out to be the right option, it’s not always the best option. Do some homework to ensure you are choosing the most qualified surgeon.
Trust your Instincts
What is your gut telling you about the surgeon? Don’t underestimate the importance of your instincts. Patients who like their doctors and have confidence in their abilities will have less anxiety and likely recover more quickly. Spine surgery is stressful enough; you don’t need the added stress of not liking or trusting your surgeon.
Ask as MANY Questions as You Can
This is undoubtedly very important. There are a number of aspects associated with your condition or the impending surgery. Being a layman unaware of complex terms, you must choose a surgeon who understands your concerns and is ready to answer all of your questions. In most cases, the patients feel rushed because they don’t have enough time to have time for a thorough conversation. So a surgeon who is willing to take ample time to answer all of your queries and explains the surgical/treatment procedure clearly to help you understand is the best choice for you. The action shows that the doctor is patient and empathetic (very crucial qualities for doctors).
100% Guarantees – Do NOT Trust
You might be shocked to hear this but experts suggest staying away from specialists or doctors offering 100% guarantees to their patients. A statement like “everyone gets cured of this surgery,” may seem very encouraging. However, it is just not accurate (probability is very low). Every surgery has some risks or the other. So make sure you choose a surgeon who is very expressive of those risks. This step is important just to make sure you are choosing an honest and sincere surgeon.
To Sum Up
Researching on spine surgeons isn’t fun. You might require spending a lot of money in this process. Also you might require reading a lot about the professional. However, this is still a very necessary step. It will help you resolve any pain and discomfort that makes daily life difficult for you. Reaching out to the best professional will help you get rid of the problem and resolve its root cause.