Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal area in the backbone is too small. The condition may cause symptoms such as lower back pain, cramping in the legs, neck numbness, tingling or weakness, and other neck and back pains. Severe cases of spinal stenosis often require surgery to create more space in the backbone. Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics, serving patients throughout northern New Jersey, outlines questions to ask when choosing an orthopedic surgeon to perform spinal stenosis surgery.
Choosing a Spinal Stenosis Doctor
Understanding what occurs during the procedure is beneficial when preparing for spinal stenosis surgery. When deciding if spine surgery is the best option and which neurosurgeon or orthopedic spine surgeon to choose to perform the surgery, asking questions alleviates concerns and clarifies the situation. A few questions to consider asking include:
What Is the Natural Course of the Condition if Left Untreated?
To better understand the severity of the spinal stenosis, ask the surgeon what the outcome would be if it is not treated with surgery. This puts into perspective the seriousness of the condition and whether leaving it untreated would be a comfortable option.
What Is the Risk-Benefit Ratio?
Asking the spinal stenosis surgeon about the risk factors compared to the overall benefits is a wise way to decide whether surgery is worth it. Spinal stenosis manifests differently in each person, and some people may have a higher risk of experiencing complications than others. The risk-benefit ratio is a critical component to discuss with the surgeon before the procedure.
How Many Spinal Stenosis Procedures Does the Surgeon Do a Year?
The number of spinal stenosis surgeries an orthopedic surgeon does annually indicates their experience with the condition. Surgeons who are more familiar with these kinds of health issues and perform many spinal stenosis procedures are less likely to make a mistake, giving the patient greater peace of mind about the procedure.
Is the Surgeon a Fellowship-Trained Physician?
This question is important because selecting a spinal stenosis surgeon with fellowship training can ease a patient’s mind and make them feel more comfortable about getting surgery. A physician who is fellowship trained has taken additional measures following medical schooling to become specialized in a certain area. In the case of spinal stenosis, consider looking for a surgeon who is fellowship trained in spinal stenosis treatment or generally trained in degenerative spine conditions.
While these questions are commonly asked by patients contemplating surgery, individuals may have specific inquiries when selecting a spinal stenosis surgeon. Whatever concerns a patient has, they should always discuss them with potential orthopedic surgeons before agreeing to the procedure.
Talking about spinal stenosis surgery with a skilled neurosurgeon or orthopedic spine surgeon not only eases anxieties about the treatment — it may also reveal their approach to care. For instance, a surgeon who is reluctant to answer questions, or one who provides vague answers, likely will make getting surgery more worrisome for the patient. On the other hand, a physician who responds to inquiries with compassion and transparency likely will display the same behavior during the procedure.
Consider a Physician at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics
Most spinal stenosis symptoms are due to degenerative changes or spine trauma, but the proper treatment can provide patients with much-needed relief. Individuals searching for knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate spinal stenosis physicians in the northern New Jersey area should consider Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics.
Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics has a multi-specialty medical staff of board-certified neurosurgeons, orthopedic spine surgeons, pain management doctors, physiatrists, rehabilitation specialists, and certified physical therapists. These skilled professionals work together to develop a comprehensive and customized care plan for each patient.
Recognized as a National Spine Center of Excellence since 2008, Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine, & Orthopedics is New Jersey’s only comprehensive spine care center with all the related specialties in one practice. For additional information on spinal stenosis, or to request an appointment at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics, contact us today.