Tips for Finding the Right Neurosurgeon for You
The World Health Organization recently released a study that showed that of the top three disability classes, 80% of problems have a neurological cause. However, some disabilities have other physical symptoms, especially for the estimated 40% of the population who suffer from bulging or herniated discs. Although some of these people may have no symptoms, others need to find a neurosurgeon, especially if they are among the workers who miss a collective 440 million days at work due to their musculoskeletal injuries.
If you're in need of a neurosurgeon for your muscular or skeletal issues, use the following tips to find one whose services are right for you:
Get referrals. Talk to your primary care doctor, friends, and family. The best way to find a new doctor is always to get a good referral from someone you trust. Given the prevalence of neck and spine problems, you may actually know several people who have been to a spine surgeon. When you get a few names, look them up online, including on Yelp and Facebook. However, remember that people are much more likely to complain than to compliment so keep that in mind when evaluating reviews.
Talk to your insurance carrier. First you can get a list of neurosurgery practices that are in your network. Check to see whether your specialist should be in a particular network. They may also have regulations for going to a specialist and then for getting any imaging studies done. Often insurance carriers require members to get MRI tests pre-certified before they will pay for them. They may also have a lot of information about the different neurosurgeons in their network and can provide you with more information on the doctors and hospitals they work with.
Schedule a visit. Next, schedule consultations with a few doctors. Ask what approach they would take and how much experience they have treating your kind of injury. If you know the kind of procedure you think you need, ask if they have any experience performing it. Many practices put patient testimonials on their website, but feel free to ask for others when you meet with a surgeon.
Think about your comfort. You need to be able to communicate well with your physician. If you are uncomfortable with the doctor, it may be harder for you to let them know when you have problems or concerns. If you feel they are not interested in answering your questions, you should consider going elsewhere. You can also review the surgeon's credentials if that will help you feel more at ease.
Look into the hospital. Different doctors are able to perform surgery and admit patients to different hospitals. You can research the hospital the same way you research the neurosurgery practice and surgeon. You need to be comfortable with the neurosurgery practice and the hospital where they perform their procedures.
The decision to have any kind of surgery can be scary. While there are many more options available to patients today than there were in the past, even minor or minimally invasive lower back surgery can be stressful. The good news is that as scary as surgery is, the benefits far outweigh the costs and problems for most of the people who have it done. If you take your time and do your research beforehand, you will feel a lot better with your decision and your back surgeon.