You have heard those dreaded words from your spine surgeon in Los Angeles: You need surgery on your spine. Fears about the worst immediately spring to mind. Could you become paralyzed if the procedure goes amiss? Is it true that spine surgery is high risk? Is the recovery time lengthy?
Just like any major medical procedure, there are risks when you go under the knife, so to speak, to fix a medical condition in your spine. However, given the important role the spine plays in the way our body supports itself and moves, forgoing necessary procedures is not recommended. Yes, the idea of surgery can be intimidating, but your spine doctor in Los Angeles can help ease your fears if you communicate clearly and ask informed questions.
Communication Before All Else
Prior to making any decisions about treatment, it is essential to describe to your doctor in detail your symptoms, including location, severity and type of pain. You should also inform your spine surgeon in Los Angeles how long you have been experiencing symptoms and if they limit your mobility or general quality of life.
When you provide this information, your doctor can accurately assess what kind of tests to run and, eventually, the best treatment option for your condition. You do not want to endure a more invasive procedure for a minor issue or, conversely, come out of treatment with the issue unresolved due to misdiagnosis.
You must become your own health advocate when dealing with the potential of surgery. Perhaps the most important part of watching out for your best interests is asking the right questions, and plenty of them. Do not ever feel like you are placing a burden on your spine doctor in Los Angeles with your questions. Making sure you are properly educated on your situation is part of their job.
Once your physician has diagnosed your back condition, you should ask them to provide you with all of the options available for treating it, along with the benefits, potential complications and side effects and recovery time for each.
Find out if you are a good candidate for the procedure that your spine surgeon in Los Angeles deems the best solution for your particular issue. For example, if you have a medical condition or have received other surgeries that may conflict with the proposed treatment, it is probably best to choose a different option. Ask your doctor to explain why you may or may not be a good candidate.
Learn from your physician what you should expect before, during and after the procedure. How should you prepare? How long will you be under anesthesia? How many days will you need to stay in the hospital? What kind of assistance will you need once you get home? When can you resume your normal daily activities? The last two questions are particularly critical to ask, as you may need help from family and friends for a period of time following surgery.
When it comes to your health, especially a vital part of your body such as your spine, the most advantageous approach you can take is to become a partner with your spine doctor in Los Angeles – not just a passive patient. When you take an active role in your situation, you pave the way for a successful outcome.