Choosing a laser spine facility should not only be based onproximity of the surgical center to your home. Nor should it bebased on the prices charged by the medical organization thatowns or operates the facility. These are factors, of course, butallowing location and price to be the only guiding principles asyou decide where to undergo spine surgery would be likeignoring the quality of the food as you decided where to eatout for a special occasion.There are a number of other factors you should weigh as youmake a decision about where to have your laser spine surgery.Start by asking your physician’s advice, as well as that of anyof your friends or family members who might have undergonespine surgery. Then, move on to the specifics.
Check the Doctors’ CredentialsOnce you have narrowed your initial search to a particular laserspine facility or facilities, check into the credentials of thesurgeons who work there. Most facilities will gladly answerquestions about the boardcertifications, residencies, education, and experience of theirsurgeons. Ask about what organizations and medical associationsthe surgeons are affiliated with, and find out if there have beenany malpractice lawsuits filed against them. Lawsuits in and ofthemselves are not necessarily a problem, because manymedical professionals are forced to contend with legal issues atsome point in their careers. But it is important to know theoutcome of those cases before consenting to undergo somethingas potentially life-changing as spine surgery.
Ask About Patient Satisfaction SurveysMost reputable laser spine surgery centers conduct patientresearch, which usually includes some form of patient satisfactionsurvey. The questions they ask of recent patients might include: • Would you recommend our center to others? • How would you rate the care you received? • If you ever needed surgery again, would you choose this facility?While no two patient experiences are alike,you can learn a lot about a laser spinefacility by taking into account how othersfelt they were treated when they werepatients there.
Go to the Facility ItselfOf course, if at all possible, one of the best ways to determine whether youshould have surgery at a particular laser spine facility is to visit the facility inperson. In general, you should know fairly quickly whether you are interestedin having your surgery in a particular place, or if you ought to look elsewhere.Whatever you do, don’t let your head be turned when you walk into aglittering, stylishly decorated lobby. Marble floors and expensive artwork onthe walls do not necessarily translate into quality spine care. At the sametime, a facility should not have a run-down appearance, either. What isimportant is that the facility features up-to-date equipment, which is anindication that the spine and rehabilitation center stays current with the mostadvanced technology available. It is also important to examine the post-operative amenities, as well. Does the center feed you or have a deli or cafeon site? Is there someplace comfortable for friends or family members towait? These are important considerations.
Research Success Rates and OutcomesFinally, even if the place itself looks great and thesurgeons check out, do not consent to spine surgeryat a laser spine facility until you have checked – anddouble-checked – the outcome history for theparticular type of surgery will you undergo. Nosurgeon will ever enjoy a success rate of 100percent, but anything less than 90 percent shouldraise an alarm bell. If the center will not providedata about success rate and long-termoutcomes, go somewhere else.