Since spine surgery is a highly personal decision, it only makes sense to choose a spine surgeon with the right skills and attitude to address your condition. Unless your surgery is immediately necessary, you’re likely to have some time to consider the following tips when choosing a Santa Monica spine surgeon:
There’s no such thing as too many questions when selecting a spine surgeon. Most reputable surgeons aren’t going to mind some questions since patient satisfaction is just as important to them as it is to you. Questions typically asked include:
• How often have you performed this procedure?
• Are you board-certified? (You can also check/confirm this on the American Board of Spine Surgery website)
• What are my alternatives to spine surgery? (No reputable spine surgeon is going to “push” you into surgery if there are some other non-surgical spine treatments you haven’t considered that may provide meaningful relief)
• Can I talk to other patients who’ve undergone the same procedure? (Surgeons can only refer you to patients who’ve signed a patient consent form)
Ask your primary care physician for recommendations when putting together your list of spine surgeons who may perform your surgery. As a general rule, fellow surgeons and doctors tend to be vague on surgeons they don’t think highly of (to avoid slander accusations) and more specific (or enthusiastic) towards surgeons they respect.
After you meet with various spine surgeons, check online to see what patients have said about their experience with each surgeon. Sites like SurgeonRatings.org allow you to streamline your search based on overall performance ratings. Consider making a “pro/con” list for each surgeon you visit to further help you with your decision-making process.
When making your final decision, also consider how each spine surgeon answered your questions during initial consultation. Did they take time to make sure you understood what was being said or did they make you feel like you were taking up their valuable time? Ultimately, it’s best to go with your instincts by selecting a spine surgeon who makes you feel comfortable in terms of their abilities and personality.
If you’re seeking a second opinion or would like to learn more about your current condition and possible treatment options, call (310) 828-7757 and request an in-person consultation with one of the board-certified spine surgeons at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration.