How to Find a Spine Surgeon
Author: Dr. Hamid Abbasi
DATE: 04 Sep 2019
Finding a spine surgeon is an extremely important decision. And knowing if you’re asking the right questions to make an informed choice is essential. Unfortunately for patients, not all spine surgeons are created equal. The simple fact is that some are better than others, and it’s up to the patient to find the most trustworthy surgeon for their situation.
Having a great spine surgeon can make all the difference before, during, and after your procedure. Forming a cohesive doctor/patient relationship with your surgeon is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a successful surgical experience.
Here are a few methods for qualifying or vetting your surgeon before you decide to have spine surgery.
Ask Your Spine Surgeon About their Credentials
The first thing you want to do is make sure your spine surgeon has the proper qualifications and credentials. Find out where they went to medical school, and where the completed their residency and fellowship. You can also ask about their work history as a surgeon.
A surgeon who has a high success rate with performing the specific spinal surgery you will be undergoing is a strong indication of trustworthiness.
Ask About the Spinal Surgeries They Perform
Even within the sub-specialty of spine surgery, there are many different specific procedures, with new techniques being developed all the time. The best spinal surgeons need a combination of experience and knowledge of new and emerging spinal surgical techniques. Ask your surgeon what types of procedures they have performed in the past, how many, and their success rates.
Surgeon to Patient Communication
An extremely important quality to look for when you’re on the hunt for a spine surgeon is their ability to communicate. Even the most technically proficient surgeon needs to be able to communicate effectively with their patients. Furthermore, that conversation needs to go both ways, with both patient and surgeon listening and talking with each other about concerns.
The Surgeon’s Training in Modern Techniques
In the field of spine surgery, techniques and procedures are constantly changing and improving. You want a surgeon who is up to date with the latest trends in spine surgery and knows how to successfully perform the most innovative, cutting-edge procedures.
What Is Your Spinal Surgeon’s Bedside Manner
You want your spine surgeon to be a knowledgeable, technical expert, but bedside manner is just as important. You may have the most brilliant surgeon on the planet, but if you can’t carry a conversation with them, you will have trouble building trust before your procedure. Make sure your surgeon has the appropriate credentials and track record, as well as a great bedside manner.
Ask for Physician References
A great way to determine the quality and skill of a surgeon is to ask other physicians for their thoughts. Surgeons often work hand-in-hand with primary care and pain management physicians to find the best care strategy. Ask if your surgeon has any other physicians who can speak to their skill set. You can also take to the internet and search for physician and patient reviews.
A surgeon who has terrible reviews online may not be as trustworthy as a doctor who has many positive reviews from previous patients.
Another extremely important quality to look for in a spinal surgeon is a track record of successful surgeries. Ideally you want a surgeon who has successfully performed hundreds (if not thousands) of procedures similar to the surgery you are considering.
How Is Your Spinal Surgeon Viewed by Their Peers?
Another great gauge of a spine surgeon’s quality is how well they are regarded by their medical peers and previous patients. Ask your primary care doctor, family, and friends if they can refer you to any excellent surgeons. This is often the best source of information.
You can also take to the internet and search around for any surgeon you are considering. Check to see if they have any patient or doctor testimonials on their website, and read patient reviews on sites like vitals.com and ratemds.com.
Contact Inspired Spine
Making the decision to undergo spine surgery is a scary thing for many patients. Inspired Spine procedures take away a lot of that pre-op fear. Our minimally invasive spinal surgeries have been shown to offer less pain and faster recoveries when compared to traditional and other MIS surgeries.