What to do if you’re considering Back Surgery


If you are contemplating spine surgery, you may be interested to know what an orthopaedic spine surgeon recommends you consider—including, important questions to ask. This is a continuation of SpineUniverse’s interview with Ralph Rashbaum, MD.

SpineUniverse: Can you give us an insiders’ view on the best way to choose a surgeon?

Dr. Rashbaum:
First and foremost, do the research on the surgeon you’re considering. This way, when you go in, you will be well informed. What’s their experience? How many surgeries has he or she done?

  • Now which is better, a surgeon who’s done one surgery or a surgeon who’s done several hundred? Obviously, experience matters.
  • Also, when a doctor suggests surgery, you need to ask why and find out if there are alternative treatment options.
  • Most important, if there are other treatment options, you need to get a second opinion.

The second opinion will either confirm or negate the need for surgery. You can even get a third opinion, but more than three opinions probably aren’t necessary. And remember, most spine surgeries that are performed are elective. One of the ways I try to put things into perspective is to ask patients, You know why they call it back surgery? Because you keep coming back.