What Questions Should I Ask My Neurosurgeon On My First Visit?

Updated on March 31, 2022


Neurosurgery is a significant procedure, and while some surgeries are riskier than others, they will all look intimidating to you. If you have been referred to a neurosurgeon for a brain or spine condition, it is essential to learn and ask as many questions as possible during your first visit. 

After all, you will get to determine whether you have found the right neurosurgeon and treatment for your condition. 

According to Ceda Orthopedic Group, it is critical to understand that while neurosurgeons are trained to perform surgeries, they may recommend less invasive options and only consider surgery as a last resort. 

When visiting a neurosurgeon for the first time, you can obtain as much information as possible, whether we refer to the risks, preparation, prognosis, or recovery process. Additionally, you can research the neurosurgeon’s experience and certifications to ensure you’re working with one of the top-rated surgeons within your area. Here are some of the most important questions you should consider asking your neurosurgeon at your first visit:

#1. What training and experience do you have to ensure you are the right neurosurgeon for me, my condition?

A neurosurgeon should have considerable experience and training in treating any spine and brain condition regardless of your situation. Any neurosurgical procedure requires high precision, so the more experienced the neurosurgeon is, the more confidence you will have before undergoing such a procedure. You can also ask how many procedures they have performed and their success rates.

#2. What is my diagnosis?

You need to understand all the factors of your diagnosis, so make sure the neurosurgeon will clearly explain the diagnosis in terms you can fully understand. If you fail to understand, don’t be afraid to ask a question. 

#3. What are my treatment options?

Generally, doctors will first consider a less invasive approach depending on your circumstances, condition, and goals. They will not see surgery as your only option but will first recommend medicine or therapy to relieve pain. After all the non-surgical alternatives have been exhausted, the doctors will recommend surgery.

#4. What happens if I choose not to have the surgery? Will my condition worsen?

It is critical to understand what your life will be like with or without undergoing surgery. Would your condition stay the same, get worse, or there is a chance for recovery after the neurosurgical procedure?

#5. What are the risks of the treatment or surgery?

All treatments and surgeries may impose some risk. You need to make sure you fully understand them. If you want to hold off on treatment for a period of observation, you should first ask about the potential progression of the disease. You need to understand all the associated risks, regardless of your treatment option. Suppose you choose surgery, then you must know about the dangers from infections, anesthesia, blood clots, and the like

#6. How is the surgery performed?

Understanding what your surgery entails will help you ask even more questions. Suppose you have an operation on your skull,  then you may want to know what kind of pain you will experience post-surgery. Additionally, you need to know how to manage the pain and what wound care is involved.

#7. How long will I be in the hospital, and where will I recover?

Most patients are interested in when they are discharged from the hospital and often forget to ask about the rest of their recovery. If you don’t know this from the start, you may be disappointed once it happens. You may need to go to a rehabilitation facility to regain your strength instead of going home. 

Bear in mind to ask your neurosurgeon how long it will be before returning to work or when you can return to your daily activities. 

#8. Do I need to stop taking any of my medicines before surgery?

Your neurosurgeon will review the common drugs you should or should not take before your surgery. For example, aspirin and clopidogrel (Plavix) are drugs that help prevent blood clots. However, you may need to stop taking them a week or more before your surgery.

Some vitamins and supplements can cause clothing or other problems, so keep in mind to review everything you take with your doctor. Moreover, it would be best if you found out for how long before surgery you have to stop eating and drinking. 

#9. How long will the surgery take?

This question is crucial for your family and friends, as they will wait impatiently outside. However, it is known that the longer the procedure, the greater the overall risk.

#9. How can I contact you or anyone else in your practice if something happens?

It is critical to ask your doctor whether they will be accessible by phone or email if something happens or for some follow-up questions. Specialized nurses and practice coordinators can also review your surgery and recovery or answer some additional questions you may have.

#10. What can I do to give myself the best chance at a successful operation?

Ask your surgeon whether there is something you can do to ensure things will go smoothly. You may need to change your diet, give up on alcohol or tobacco, or stop certain medications. 

Final Words

Seeing a neurosurgeon can make you or your loved ones feel anxious and nervous, but this feeling often stems from not knowing enough information.

These are some of the most important questions you should consider asking your neurosurgeon before your neurosurgery procedure. It is best to take notes during your first visit to ensure you haven’t missed anything. You can also ask some relevant questions to your insurance provider regarding the costs of the surgery. There may be other payments that are anticipated from you. 

If you decide to get a second opinion, it is essential to carry all your medical records so that your tests do not need to be repeated. Communicating with your neurosurgeon will ensure the best quality healthcare possible and a stress-free experience.

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