What Questions to Ask Your Surgeon About Your Upcoming Cervical Disc Replacement
It is said that knowledge is power. But that is only half the truth. Knowledge is only powerful when it is applied. Informed patients are empowered, patients. And, regarding your health, there is no room for error. It would be best if you were as proactive as possible in ensuring you get the best care and treatment possible.
One of the most important things you can do is ask questions—lots of them. We offer you this guide to bring with you to help you remember all of the questions you should ask your surgeon about your upcoming cervical disc replacement.
Questions about Preparing for Your Surgery
First, you want to be well-informed about how you can prepare your body, mind, and life for your surgery. These questions will give you a good starting point.
- Is surgery my only option? Are there new treatments we have yet to try?
- If I choose not to have the surgery, will my condition worsen?
- Will other health issues I have impacted the success of the surgery?
- Does my insurance require a second opinion?
- What are the costs associated with this procedure? Is there anything my insurance doesn’t cover?
- What kind of pre-op testing do I need to have done? When should I have it done & when should we expect the results?
- How many of these procedures have you done in the past? What is the average success rate compared to your success rate?
- When can I expect to return to work and do other everyday activities?
- What specific instructions do I need to follow to prepare for my surgery?
- What kind of activities or exercise should I avoid in the weeks leading up to my surgery?
- What proactive measures can I take to improve my chances of a successful surgery and recovery?
These questions aim to give you a clear understanding of what to expect and what is expected of you. Additionally, they show your doctor that you are serious about your health and committed to taking an active role in your care.
Questions about the Surgery Process Itself
Of course, you will have questions about the surgery process itself. You want to know what will happen and how it will happen. This can help you plan your affairs and give you a better idea of what to expect:
- What kind of anesthesia will I be given?
- What are the risks and side effects associated with anesthesia?
- How long is the surgery expected to take?
- What happens if it takes longer than anticipated?
- Who will be on my surgical team? What is their experience? Can I meet them before my surgery?
- What is the chance of complications during surgery?
- Where will the incision be made? Can you describe the entire process to me?
The answers to these questions can help mentally prepare you for surgery and help you understand what will happen during and after the procedure. You must know the team who will care for you and feel confident in their abilities.
Questions About Your Recovery, Follow-up Care & Long-Term Prognosis
You are most interested in what your life will be like once you have successfully undergone surgery and are on the road to recovery. These questions can help give you a better idea of what to expect and how to plan for your new normal.
- If there are post-surgery complications, will I be transferred to another facility? Which one?
- What kind of support will I need at home during my recovery?
- What should I expect immediately following the surgery regarding pain, recovery time, etc.?
- What kind of follow-up care will I need, and for how long?
- What kind of post-op testing do I need to have done? When should I have it done & when should we expect the results?
- Is there anything I need to do or avoid doing in the weeks leading up to my surgery to help prevent infection?
- What are the signs of infection post-op? When should I call the doctor?
- What can I do to lower my risk of infection during my recovery?
- What will rehab entail? How long will I need it for?
- What are the possible complications I could experience in my recovery?
- What kind of pain can I expect post-op, and how will it be managed?
- What are the medications I will be taking? How long will I need to take them?
- What are the risks and side effects associated with my pain medication? Are any of them habit-forming? If so, are there non-habit-forming alternatives?
- When can I expect to feel back to normal again?
- What improvements are we expecting to see in terms of mobility & functionality?
- What are the chances that I will need revision surgery down the road?
Understanding the recovery process is critical to helping you prepare for your surgery and setting realistic expectations for life post-op. These questions will help ensure you know what to expect in the weeks, months, and years following your procedure.
Tips for Boosting Doctor/Patient Communication
A lot of questions on a complicated topic can cause communication breakdowns. If you feel like you need more than the answers you need from your doctor, here are a few tips to help improve communication and get the information you need.
First, if you need help understanding a response, ask for clarification. If it is still a concern, ask your doctor if someone on the team can better answer your questions. If you are still looking for more, consider seeking a second opinion.
Second, take notes. Your doctor will be piling a lot of information on you, and it can be challenging to remember everything. Or, ask your doctor if they have literature on your questions you can take home. A written record you can refer back to will help ensure you remember everything necessary.
Finally, be sure to ask about your specific case. Every surgery is different, and your doctor should be able to tailor their answers to your unique situation. If you still have questions but feel like you’re not getting the answers you need, ask your doctor to recommend outside resources that can help.
Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery in Florida is Your Partner in Success
Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery is committed to providing our patients with the best possible care. We understand that this is a difficult and stressful time for you, and we are here to help guide you through every step of the cervical disc replacement process.
Our goal is to personify excellence in everything we do so that you can focus on what’s important – getting back to your life. We look forward to helping you experience life to the fullest once again. Send us a message or call (855) 853-6542 to schedule a consultation today.