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How to Choose the Right Spine Surgeon

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How to Choose the Right Spine Surgeon

  • Dr. Charla Fischer
  • Aug 07, 2018

Deciding to have spine surgery is a big step, but finding the right surgeon is just as important. Surgery can be a very effective way to regain your mobility and comfort if you have a serious back problem, but it is only as good as the doctor who performs the procedure. Many patients are uncertain about how to find a skilled, experienced, reputable surgeon. If you are facing spine surgery and need to choose a surgeon, here are some suggestions on evaluating healthcare professionals as you begin your journey.

Where should you look for a spine surgeon?
If you have a trusted family doctor already, ask for referrals to trusted spine surgeons. Often, physicians are very good at evaluating others in their own profession. Also ask family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers for recommendations. More people than you realize may have experience with surgeons. Search the internet for physicians with positive reviews who perform the type of surgery you need. Schedule consultations with several surgeons to narrow your search down to the best fit for you. Dr. Fischer at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City is happy to consult with patients and help ensure you have the right healthcare professional for your situation.

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Have you done your research?
Do some research on your own about your diagnosis and recommended surgery. A specialist will be most capable in identifying your condition and advising you about treatment options, but it’s smart to go into the office already knowing as much as you can about what’s going on with your health. It will help you understand the terminology better and prepare you to ask good questions.

Are you sure about your diagnosis?
Your surgeon must be well-educated and experienced in the cause, location, and symptoms of your spinal issue in order for the treatment to be effective. If you are concerned about the accuracy of your diagnosis or the recommendations for treatment, seek a second opinion. Consider the information from both professionals before making a decision. You should only pursue surgery if you and your chosen spine surgeon are confident that the procedure is right for you. Trusted physicians like Dr. Fischer want what’s best for you.

Have you talked to the surgeon?
Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as needed so that you fully understand the diagnosis, treatment, and expected outcomes. In addition to asking about your condition and specific procedures, ask about the surgeon’s education, board certifications, qualifications, and experience. Make sure the doctor has experience performing the surgery you’re considering; ask how many times it has been done and the outcomes of the surgery. Dr. Fischer at NYU Langone Medical Center is ready to meet with you to answer all your questions and help you feel comfortable with your treatment plan. If a surgeon is reluctant to share information with you, that is a red flag and you might consider finding another healthcare professional. It is also appropriate to ask the surgeon for references from previous patients so that you may inquire about their experience with the surgeon and care.

Have you talked to the nurses?
You can often obtain helpful information by speaking with the nurses also. They spend the most time with patients through the whole process, and usually have insights into successes and failures in the practice. Ask questions such as what surgeon they’d choose themselves if they needed spine surgery, or if most patients would come back to the same physician if they needed another surgery. Many nurses won’t openly critique a surgeon, but you may notice things like word choice or tone that can help you tell if the surgeon is well-respected.

Are you confident in your choice?

From the office staff to the nurses to the surgeon, you should feel confident about your choice of healthcare professional. You want to find the best team to help you reach your goal of complete recovery. Consider putting Dr. Fischer on your list of spine surgeons who might be the answer you’re looking for.  Contact our office to schedule your consultation.

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