For roughly a year or so now, most of the world has had to make adjustments due to COVID-related concerns. This has meant a significant increase in virtual engagement, which has extended to patient-doctor interactions, including ones involving spine surgery discussions. While it’s not possible to perform surgery virtually, there are some aspects of pre-surgery preparations that can be done effectively from a distance. In fact, a recent study has confirmed this. Here’s what you need to know about virtual consultations if spine surgery is a possibility for you in the near future.
Researchers looked at the records of more than 30 patients who were identified as having received spine surgery recommendations during virtual visits. For these patients, plans for preparations prior to surgery were made. However, there were in-person exams as well before surgery was scheduled. The findings of the study indicated:
• 94 percent of the patients’ surgical plans made during virtual visits remained the same after in-person visits
• The two patients who did have surgical plans changed ended up needing an extra level of surgery—although multilevel operations were already planned in both instances
• Virtual visits were largely an efficient and effective preoperative assessment tool for the majority of patients in the study
One of the main reasons virtual spine surgery consultations can be effective is because they allow for direct patient-doctor communication. In addition to providing an added layer of protection against coronavirus, virtual consultations also give you a chance to discuss your symptoms in detail and get clear answers to any questions you may have. For example, if their spine specialists recommend having surgical procedures such as spinal fusion alternatives, Beverly Hills patients could continue the discussion by asking whether treatment methods that worked for friends or family members might be effective for them as well.
Another benefit of virtual surgery consultations is allowing your symptoms to be tracked. This can be helpful as surgery options are discussed and fine-tuned. For instance, if you’re experiencing new or worsening symptoms, this fact can be taken into account and noted in your record before you have an in-person visit.
First, check with your doctor or spine specialist to see if virtual consultations are offered. If they are, also see if your insurance provider covers visits of this nature. As for how you prepare for virtual consultations, the following steps are typically recommended:
• Make sure you have a secure Internet connection
• Confirm you have the appropriate video chat application up and running
• Prepare a list of any questions or topics you wish to bring up
• Adhere to any privacy requirements your doctor may need to be mindful of
There are many positive things to say about virtual spine surgery consultations. However, it’s just as important to do what’s most comfortable for you. For some patients, this means a preference for in-person visits only, and others may prefer a mix of remote and in-person consultations as spinal surgery options are explored and discussed before any final decisions are made.
Spine surgery patients can boost their chances for smooth recovery by preparing themselves ahead of time, which includes having effective consultations with their spine specialists. If you’re having sudden, severe, or long-term pain in your back or neck, consulting a Beverly Hills spine surgeon may be the key to prompt diagnosis and treatment. At The Spine Institute, our physicians have years of experience treating issues related to spinal health. Our cutting-edge methods and pioneering specialists lead the industry when it comes to surgical and nonsurgical innovations and helping patients get back on their feet as soon as possible. Call our friendly staff today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.