Neck pain can be difficult to treat even under ideal circumstances. People who have had neck pain long enough tend to mistrust doctors. If you are contemplating surgery, chances are you have tried a number of different treatments and doctors without success. Neck pain surgery can help relieve neck pain, though it is not a magic bullet for everyone. An important part of the journey to finding relief from neck pain is to choose an excellent neck pain surgeon, but also neck pain surgeon that is right for you.
Your neck pain surgeon should be an excellent diagnostician
A diagnostician is someone who makes a diagnosis. In neck pain treatment, the correct diagnosis is perhaps the most important part of neck pain surgery. It can be difficult to determine which physicians are excellent diagnosticians; however, surgeons who have pursued orthopedic surgery training and who have specialized in spine conditions are best qualified to diagnose neck pain. If you are seeking consultation from a physician who has completed a spine fellowship, you are in good hands. These surgeons have chosen to add additional training to the end of an already long training process to become spine specialists. Because of the testing and credentialing process, they are excellent diagnosticians when it comes to neck pain, back pain, and spine pain.
Your neck pain surgeon should provide you with options
A neck pain surgeon has specialized in surgery of the spine, but that doesn’t mean that neck surgery is the only treatment option. After your spine surgeon makes the correct diagnosis, you should be presented with surgical and nonsurgical options. That said, most people who find themselves in an spine surgeon’s office have already tried the nonsurgical options. In many cases, nonsurgical option should be tried before surgical ones. On the other hand, specific causes of neck pain may be best treated with surgery first. The point is that you should be given options in those option should be explained to you.
Your next pain surgeon should be experienced and successful
No one wants to be a guinea pig and no one wants to have neck pain surgery by someone who is not an expert. A surgeon who has completed a spine fellowship will have performed numerous neck surgeries during that fellowship and will have gained sufficient experience to perform neck pain surgery professionally. Nevertheless, it is useful to ask simple questions such as “how many times have you performed this neck pain surgery?” and “what is the success rate with this neck pain surgery?” The surgeon may not be able to give you the precise number of surgeries he or she has performed, but their estimate should be pretty close. Likewise, the complication rate should be low but it should not be zero. Every surgical procedure carries some inherent risks no matter how experienced and successful the surgeon may be. Honest answers are a good sign; a evasive answer is a red flag. You will know the difference.
If you find a neck pain surgeon who is board certified in orthopedic surgery and has completed a spine fellowship, you are almost assured to be in good hands. If that surgeon can also describe your surgical and nonsurgical treatment options, it tells you that he or she wants you to have the best outcome rather than simply to have surgery. If that surgeon can openly and honestly discuss the success and complication rates for the prescribed treatment, you have probably found your ideal neck pain surgeon.