Back disc surgery is common, but still serious. It is important to go into the process with as much knowledge as possible by asking plenty of questions of your primary care physician and surgeon. This extra step to prepare could have the difference between a successful exit and one that does not do as well. Since the back is a complicated structure, full of moving parts, it can be especially tricky to perform surgery. Common sense dictates that you and your doctors exhaust all other options before turning to surgery.
1. What exactly will happen during the procedure?
Before ever going in for the surgery, it is important to know what exactly will happen and how long it will take. Sometimes, there are several approaches to fix the same problem and knowing which your surgeon is doing and why is important. Also, ask about the other people who will be in the room, their roles, and their specialties. Depending on your tolerance level, it could be good to know where they will make incisions, what they will do once they are in your back, and what kind of scars to expect. It is also good to make the situation personal and ask the surgeon what they would suggest for a loved one of the heads was in the same situation. This can elicit an honest and direct answer of their professional opinion.
2. What do I need to do to prepare?
Back disc surgery is no small matter, and a number of steps need to be taken before you are ready. Your surgeon will likely provide a checklist, but make sure you read it fully and go over it with them, to make sure you understand. All paperwork for medical history, pre-op testing, and insurance must be in order. Sometimes, you must come in beforehand to donate blood. It is usually recommended to stop smoking and sometimes adjust current medications before a surgical procedure. Be sure you know your responsibilities, so you are prepared.
3. How long will recovery be?
Recovery from back disc surgery is important to cover in a conversation with your doctor. Ask about the expected length of your hospital stay, when you will be discharged to a rehabilitation facility or home, and the expected length of physical therapy after. Be sure you know how long to take off from work and make other life arrangements, so they are not a headache while you are trying to regain health. Also, discuss the pain medications that will be given in the hospital and then prescribed for taking home.
4. What is the success rate?
For some surgeries, there is a high success rate. Others have a good success rate, but a high risk rate. Sometimes, back disc surgery fixes the problem permanently. Other times, it is only temporary, and the condition could manifest again later in life. The risk of surgery could be your best option for a good quality of life, but it is important that you fully understand all of the pros and cons of the specific procedure that your doctor is suggesting before going under the knife. They will only make decisions with your best interest in mind, but you are still extremely responsible for your wellbeing.
5. What is your experience with this surgery?
Just because a person is a surgeon does not mean that they have experience with every type of procedure. It is important to make sure your doctor is board certified in the type of medicine they practice and has performed surgery for your type of issue many times before. Experience will help them make good calls once they are in the operating room to help your body heal the fastest rate possible.
Remember to check with your doctor before taking any treatment or medical remedy.