If you’re considering a minimally invasiveprocedure to treat chronic pain due to adegenerative spine condition, you’ll want toresearch several laser spine surgeons toensure that the one you choose has theexpertise and training necessary tosuccessfully perform endoscopic procedureson the neck and back. This may meanconfirming qualifications, experience,specializations, board certifications, andawards.
Qualifications & ExperienceAs with any type of surgeon, you should always review the qualificationsand experience associated with the laser spine surgeons you areconsidering. This could include finding out the following: • What type of doctor they are (medical doctor or doctor of osteopathic medicine) • Where they went to medical school • Where they completed their residency • Whether they’ve completed a fellowship in their field of specialization • Whether they are board certified in orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, or spine surgery by a reputable certifying body in the United States • Where they’ve been employed in the past
Time in Practice & TestimonialsPerhaps one of the most useful tools you can use while evaluating a surgeonis to compare his or her qualifications with the amount of time he or she hasactually been in practice. While a surgeon who has only several years ofexperience performing the type of procedure you’re considering may bequalified to perform your surgery, you may feelmore comfortable with a surgeon that has manymore years of experience.Another effective way to evaluate laser spinesurgeons includes reviewing patient testimonials.If a surgeon claims to have helped certain individualsfind relief from back and neck pain, there are likelypatients that are willing to talk about and share theirexperiences with you.
Specialization & AwardsAlthough they are trained in many different facetsof spine surgery, some laser spine surgeons mayspecialize in a certain procedure or focus ontreating a specific condition. It may beadvantageous for you to seek a surgeon who notonly has the sufficient qualifications andexperience, but also specializes in treating yourcondition or performing a specific procedure. Thiscould be even more helpful if they’ve won awardsor recognition for their specialized skills.
The FacilityJust as it’s important to confirm the qualificationsand experience of laser spine surgeons, it’s alsoimportant to research the facility at which theyperform their outpatient procedures. Is the surgicalfacility accredited by an ambulatory health careorganization? Are other health care professionals,such as anesthesiologists, physicians, and nurses onstaff? Do they all uphold a set of standards toensure the best overall care for their patients?
Before You Consent to SurgeryYou should know that most patients suffering from back and neck pain won’t require surgicalintervention. In fact, only a small percentage of patients are candidates for elective surgery,largely due to the fact that their spine conditions significantly affect the patient’s quality of life. Insome cases, patients whose symptoms persist even after several weeks or months ofconservative, nonsurgical treatment (physical therapy, pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs,low-impact exercise, etc.) may be candidates for an elective surgical procedure.That said, if your doctor has asked you to consider back or neck surgery, the best thing you can dofor yourself prior to signing a consent form is to obtain a second, third, or even fourth medicalopinion from other doctors. This can help to confirm the diagnosis of your specific condition, aswell as ensure that all conservative therapies have been exhausted.And, if you do decide to undergo a procedure, it may also be advantageous for you to not onlythoroughly research laser spine surgeons but also research the procedures themselves. This canhelp you formulate reasonable expectations for your outcome, understand the relatedadvantages and disadvantages, and prepare yourself mentally and physically to undergo surgery.