Q: WHEN CAN I DRIVE AFTER MY SURGERY?
A: First, are you risking damage to a recent surgery or treatment by driving? If you need to protect a body part with immobilization, or if you cannot bend a joint, then you probably cannot drive. Driving involves specific movements that need to be easily accomplished before you can return behind the wheel. Your doctor can tell you when it is safe for you to drive a vehicle from this standpoint.
Q: WHEN IS SURGERY NECESSARY FOR PATIENTS WITH SPINE PROBLEMS?
A: Surgery is indicated for multiple problems of the spine, including, but not limited to, disc herniation, spinal stenosis, deformity, instability, tumors and fractures. Surgery is typically recommended for patients who have failed conservative treatment and are still having significant symptoms, which inhibit their lifestyle. You should be evaluated for surgery right away if you develop weakness in your arm/s or leg/s, a change in bowel or bladder function, you have severe pain that suddenly goes away.
Q: WHY SHOULD I HAVE A NEUROSURGEON DO MY BRAIN OR SPINE SURGERY?
A: A neurosurgeon is trained in diagnosis and treatment of the entire nervous system, composed of the brain, spinal cord and spinal column, as well as the nerves that travel through all parts of the body (hands, legs, arms, face). No other surgical specialty trains to the same level as do board certified neurosurgeons in the management and treatment of surgical conditions of the brain and spine. Though many patients think of neurosurgeons as "brain surgeons," it may be interesting to know that the majority of operations performed by neurosurgeons across the country are spine surgeries. Neurosurgeons train in surgery of the spine including microdiscectomy, laminectomy, cervical and lumbar fusion and instrumentation during their entire residency training. Their experience is not limited to a one year fellowship or a few weekend courses as with other specialties that sometimes operate on the spine.
Q: HOW MUCH PAIN WILL I HAVE AFTER MY SURGERY?
A: Pain is an individual experience, therefore management differs from person to person. Some pain is an inevitable companion to most types of surgery, and the severity of pain is related to the type of surgery, the occurrence of complications and a host of other factors. The good news is that there are many highly effective medications to keep post-surgical pain under control. In addition to the benefit of greater comfort, experts say well-controlled pain can speed recovery and prevent long-term problems. Many patients report less pain after surgery than they were experiencing before surgery. The first few days following surgery are the most uncomfortable and your pain will diminish over time as you heal. Pre-existing medical conditions such as chronic pain, addiction or dependence, and past history can complicate pain management after surgery. Talk to your care team to develop a plan for your pain management.