Do you need guidance on choosing a herniated disc surgeon? Just the fact that you are looking for help already puts you in a small minority of patients who have a much better chance of finding lasting relief for your pain. This is because most patients simply get a referral to an unknown surgeon by their primary care provider and soon afterwards, trust this stranger with their life on the operating table, typically without even doing any research about the doctor, their credentials, experience, litigation history or efficacy of treatment. This is a huge and often catastrophic mistake. Something has given you pause enough to do more research before scheduling surgery, which is a tremendous asset in your favor. Good for you!
Herniated disc surgeons are at the top of the medical food chain. They earn vast sums of money, performing procedures which account for the most often utilized of all back and neck pain treatments in the surgical arena. Basically, the various operative techniques that are used to surgical treat herniated discs are the most common of all spinal procedures. Herniated disc surgeries are also the worst faring of all spinal surgeries, with the overwhelming majority of them failing to provide lasting relief when measured over 7 year timelines postoperatively. Worse still, herniated disc surgeries rank among the highest rates of immediate failure, as well as for immediate escalation of pain postoperatively. All these facts make avoiding herniated disc surgery ideal, but if you are ready to proceed anyway, at least choose your surgeon carefully.
This patient guide helps medical consumers in their process of choosing a herniated disc surgeon. We will provide expert tips for avoiding problems when facing surgical care by carefully selecting the best choice of doctor to perform the procedure.
Choosing a Herniated Disc Surgeon Mistakes
The most common mistake patients commit when choosing a herniated disc surgeon is pursuing surgical care in the first place. Herniated disc surgery is virtually never objectively needed, is seldom effective over 7 year timelines and often makes matters much worse for postoperative patients. The vast majority of people who undergo surgical intervention for a herniated disc do not require a herniated disc procedure and do not benefit from treatment to a significant degree.
The second most common mistake patients make, regardless of whether they should even have surgery or not, is to not get a second opinion on the best type of care for them. If they sought out a second opinion, they might be told that the disc is not even the source of their pain, but even if it is, then they might receive other more enlightened recommendations for treatment.
The third most common mistake made by presurgical patients is to simply allow any unknown doctor to perform their operation. These patients typically believed the diagnosis of a herniated disc as the source of pain without question, believed the idea that they need surgery without questioning and then not surprisingly allowed whatever doctor who told them the above information to perform this operation, without even consulting with a potentially better qualified surgeon. Objectively, one could call this “passivity stupidity”.
Choosing a Spinal Surgeon Process
If you DO accept that your diagnosis of disc pathology (instead of simply the presence of a herniated disc) is right and accept the idea that you must get (or simply want) surgery, then you should still take the time and effort to find the best surgeon for your needs. To this end, we provide the following advice:
You should first do lots of independent research to learn about all of your treatment options, since herniated discs can be treated with many types of procedures, including discectomy, IDET, nucleoplasty, laminectomy, spinal fusion, artificial disc replacement and others.
You should always choose the least invasive type of surgical technique that will successfully accomplish the surgical goal. Minimally invasive is almost always preferred to fully open surgery.
Doctors are not created equal. Their skills vary and their experience ranges greatly. It is best to find one that specializes in your chosen form of treatment and the exact approach that will be least invasive.
Every candidate should be investigated to learn about their credentials, experience, record of complaints, litigation or disciplinary actions from governmental or professional organizations, their fees and their curative results. Speaking to successfully-treated patients with an identical diagnosis to your own is a good way to judge any surgeon.
If you take the time and do things right, choosing a herniated disc surgeon can be a rewarding experience. However, we still take one last opportunity to warn all patients that herniated discs are not often the true source of pain and even when they are, surgery is rarely the best path towards a cure.