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Hi, My mother has been complaining of lower back pain that also affects her legs since the last 1.5 years. Age 63 years (height 5’3” , weight – 70 kg ) , mild hypertension (controlled with...View full Conversation
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1. What Is a Spine Surgeon?
A spine surgeon is a physician who provides surgical treatment for conditions of spine. To become a spine surgeon, after graduating from medical school, a doctor completes an orthopedic surgery residency program, followed by additional subspecialty training in spinal surgery. The specialty of spine surgery combines aspects of both orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery.
Spine surgeons diagnose and provide preoperative and postoperative care for conditions and disorders of spine. These may include birth defects or malformations such as spina bifida, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, kyphosis, lordosis, or conditions like degenerative disk disease, disk herniation, spondylolisthesis, spondylosis, adult spinal deformities, spinal infections, cauda equina syndrome, spinal fractures, and tumors.
Spine surgeons work with providers in other specialties to make decisions about the management and treatment of problems related to the spine, including neurosurgeons and oncologists, as well as physical therapists, orthotic and prosthetic specialists, and others. A primary care provider will usually refer a patient to a spine surgeon.
2. When Should I See a Spine Surgeon?
Your primary care provider will usually refer you to a spine surgeon. You may need to see a spine surgeon if you are having symptoms that may indicate a problem with your spine, including:
• Persistent or worsening back pain
• Numbness or tingling
• Difficulty walking, bending, or sitting
• Bladder and bowel problems
• Weakness or paralysis
• Spinal trauma
• Twisted neck or back
3. What Tests Does a Spine Surgeon Perform or Recommend?
Your spine surgeon may request several tests to diagnose the cause of the symptoms. These tests include:
• Imaging tests including x-ray, myelogram, CT scan, MRI, and more
• Electromyography (EMG)
• Blood and urine tests
• Spinal tap
4. What Procedures Does a Spine Surgeon Perform or Recommend?
Your spine surgeon may recommend spinal surgical procedures such as:
• Spinal fusion
• Disk replacement and corpectomy
• Osteophyte removal surgery
5. What Questions Should I Ask a Spine Surgeon?
You may want to ask these kinds of questions:
• What is my condition? What is the recommended treatment?
• Please explain the recommended surgical procedure and the type of anesthesia that will be used.
• How many of these types of surgeries have you performed?
• Are there any non-surgical treatments available?
• What are the success rates? Are there any risks involved?
• Should I continue taking my other medicines?
• Will the treatment affect my work or other activities like driving, sex?
• What if I delay my surgery? What will be the consequences?
• Will there be pain even after the surgery? How to manage it?
• Will I need more surgeries in the future? If so, when?
• Will I need crutches or a wheelchair during my recovery?
• Will I be able to go to the bathroom after the surgery?
• How long will my hospital stay be? How long does the recovery take? Are there any restrictions during my recovery?
• Will I need physical therapy after the surgery?
• What can reduce my pain and discomfort? What are the side effects of the anti-pain treatment?
• How can I make my home safer for me? What precautions do I need to take post-surgery?