Preparing for surgery involves more than just determining that a Beverly Hills spine surgeon is competent. It’s just as important to establish solid communications with your surgeon prior to surgery to ensure you are both on the same page when it comes to expectations for the procedure and recovery.
Set Realistic Expectations
If possible, schedule your surgery far enough in advance so you can educate yourself on what to expect. In addition to information from your primary care physician and surgeon, you can get a better idea of what to expect after your procedure by:
• Viewing information about your procedure on reliable websites
• Asking to speak to patients who’ve already had the procedure, if possible
• Finding out your surgeon’s success/failure rate with the procedure along with their overall competence via websites like SurgeonRatings.org
Schedule an Appointment with Your Surgeon to Discuss Expectations
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you’re first getting all the information about your recommended procedure. Schedule a separate meeting with your surgeon to specifically ask questions and discuss what you expect to achieve by having the procedure, with an emphasis on:
• How long recovery will likely take
• If or when you’ll be able to return your normal routine
• Whether or not pain will be completely eliminated or minimized
Clarify a Mutual Understanding
Further ensure that your surgery expectations align with what your surgeon hopes to achieve with the procedure by clarifying your understanding of the likely outcome. Repeat back to your surgeon your comprehension of what to expect with the procedure, including any possible risks you were informed of previously. For legal reasons, most surgeons aren’t likely to put surgery expectations in writing. However, board-certified orthopedic surgeons will likely want to establish a mutual understanding of expectations.
While there are no guarantees that any surgery will be successful, being on the same page with expectations can avoid disappointment or frustration if results aren’t as envisioned. Having mutual expectations can also help reduce depression and anxiety that’s sometimes associated with disappointment over surgery results. Additionally, shared expectations often result in a better frame of mind going into surgery, which can also help with recovery.
Whether you’re considering minimally invasive spine surgery, spinal fusion, or non-fusion alternatives, aligning your surgery expectations with those of your spine surgeon will help ease any anxiety before the procedure and manage your recovery expectations after. For more information on spine surgery or to request a consultation for a second opinion, call The Spine Institute at (310) 828-7757.