Neurosurgery is not to be taken lightly. While some procedures are riskier than others, even the most “routine” of surgeries are not going to feel routine to you. Even if you’re in the capable hands of one of Atlanta’s top neurosurgeons, the prospect of going under the knife can be intimidating at best. Knowledge is power, so before agreeing to undergo any surgery, you are entitled to obtain as much information about the procedure as possible. This includes the preparation, the risks, recovery, prognosis — whatever you need in order to feel comfortable with it. You are also entitled to research the surgeon’s experience and certifications to be sure you’re working with one of the top surgeons in Atlanta. Here are 15 important questions to ask your neurosurgeon before any surgery.
It’s important to have a basic understanding of the step-by-step process of the procedure that is being performed.
Not to put too fine a point on it — any neurosurgical procedure is highly delicate, requiring great precision. The more experienced the neurosurgeon, the more confidence you can have going under the knife. Don’t just ask about how many years the surgeon has been practicing; ask how many actual procedures he/she as performed, and ask about the success rates.
It’s important to make a connection between your condition and how the surgery will aid you.
While some surgeries may entirely correct an issue, other surgeries may only offer temporary or partial relief. Make your expectations clear.
As difficult as it may be to hear, you need to know what is at stake and whether you okay with the possible outcomes.
If the procedure’s odds are not in your favor, you have the right to question whether you should go through with it.
A responsible doctor will not recommend surgery unless non-surgical alternatives have been explored and exhausted.
It’s important to consider what your life might be like without undergoing the surgery. Would you stay the same, get worse, or is there a chance for recovery without the procedure?
Typically, the longer the procedure, the greater the overall risk, especially of infection.
For some outpatient procedures, you may be able to go home the same day; other procedures require a stay of one or more days in the hospital.
Find out the expectations for pain after the procedure, what medicines you’ll be taking, what equipment you may require, and if physical therapy will be required.
This question gives you a realistic expectation of your recovery timetable, so there are no surprises and you can be prepared to get whatever extra help you need.
Depending on your condition and the procedure, your mobility may or may not be affected in some way after the surgery. Get a realistic idea of what to expect.
Setting expectations and benchmarks for success prior to the surgery will allow you and your doctor to make informed decisions after the surgery.
Is there a chance of recurrence? Will this be an ongoing situation in your life or just an episode?
Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center is home to some of the best neurosurgeons in Georgia, including three who were named in Atlanta Magazine’s Top Doctors Issue for 2017. We are committed to providing you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about surgery. To learn more, call us at 404.256.2633.