Each year, about half a million Americans undergo back surgery for a number of reasons. Surgery is often the treatment of choice for a variety of causes of back pain. It may be used to remove the herniated portion of a disk, remove bone overlying the spinal canal, fuse together two or more bones in the spine to add stability, or implant artificial disks to eliminate pain from degenerated or injured disks.
Though back surgery is common, it is not always the best treatment for back pain. Has your doctor recommended back surgery to treat a back injury or chronic back pain? The decision to have back surgery is not an easy one to make. As you weigh your options, it’s important to have your questions answered by a qualified back surgeon.
Take your health into your own hands. If you are considering back surgery, here are some important questions to ask during your surgery consultation.
- What is causing my back pain?
- What procedure do you recommend to relieve my pain?
- Is this my only option to get relief from my back pain?
- How is the procedure performed and how will it help relieve my back pain?
- What benefits can I expect from the procedure and how long will they last?
- What is the success rate of this procedure?
- How many times have you performed this procedure? What is your success rate?
- What are the risks and possible complications of the surgery?
- What will my recovery be like?
- What should I expect in terms of pain and mobility following surgery?
- What pain control measures will I be given?
- When can I return to daily activities?
- Will I need physical therapy? If so, what kind of physical therapy?
- What can I expect in six months after surgery? One year? Five years?
Asking the right questions before surgery will help you make an informed decision about your health. Back surgery is not always the best option to treat chronic back pain, so it’s important to understand why surgery has been recommended for you. Take this list of questions with you to your surgery consultation so you will be better prepared for surgery and recovery.