Suffering from unrelenting back pain? You could go to any old spine doctor, but then you may end up with any old treatment. Or, even worse, you’ll have to find another spine doctor to fix what the first one couldn’t. The idea that every back doctor is the same, with the same training, track record, technique, demeanor, and desire for you to truly get better with the least amount of pain and invasiveness, is a big myth—one that could seriously affect your health and well-being. The truth about spine doctors is:
Not all spine doctors are conservative
Minimally invasive spine surgery is a practice that’s based on a conservative approach to care, which means surgery is handled as a last resort when other options haven’t healed the patient. Minimally invasive procedures have grown dramatically in popularity over the years as patients recognize the benefits over open surgeries, like a shorter procedure, less time spent in the hospital, and easier recovery.
In fact, largely driven by technological advancements, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the minimally invasive surgery market is expected “to expand at 10.50% CAGR by 2019,” according to a recent market research report released by Transparency Market Research. Studies have also shown an increase in minimally invasive back surgeries like “the anterior cervical fusion and posterior cervical fusion cohort over the past 15 years,” said the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NCBI), as well as procedures like minimally-invasive lumbar disc surgery.
Yet, your spine doctor may not have the training to perform these procedures.
Not all are qualified to perform minimally invasive procedures
“Minimally invasive surgery is highly technical. This requires significant training of the surgeon as well as the OR staff,” said the Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (SMISS). “Furthermore, the equipment needed to perform these procedures safely and effectively can be very expensive.” This helps explain why only a small percentage—as little as 10 percent, according to industry data—of today’s spine doctors have the experience and technical skill to perform minimally invasive spine surgery, including procedures like endoscopic microdiscectomy, minimally invasive endoscopic lumbar fusions (MIS TLIF) and direct lateral minimally invasive anterior fusions (XLIF). This further underscores the importance of taking a close look at a spine doctor’s qualifications.
Not all are patient
The hallmark of a quality minimally invasive spine doctor is one who looks to conservative treatments first, instead of immediately “looking to cut,” which is the approach of many surgeons regardless of specialty.
Even some minimally invasive surgeons may move right past the physical therapy/anti-inflammatory/hot- and cold-therapy stages, or even beyond what is typically considered the next step in minimally invasive procedures, epidural steroid injections, opting to perform surgical procedure right off the bat. For patients who want a more conservative approach, some careful research into the best spine doctors, with specific questions geared not only toward qualifications but also philosophy, can help.
Not all have the same track record
Online research is key when looking for any doctor today. Don’t forget to do a general search to look for potential red flags. When you’re looking through a spine doctor’s website, pay special attention to testimonials. If there is no mention—or limited mention—of patient recommendations, this is something you probably want to ask about. The experience of former patients will give you critical information about that spine doctor.
Not all do the same procedures
You may not know what type of procedure is right for your particular condition, and you may not even be aware of what your condition is when you see a Texas spine doctor for the first time. But, chances are you’ve done some of that research before you chose to make an appointment. At your initial consultation, it’s important to be open about your pain level, your goals, and your concerns. You’ll also want to make sure that the doctor’s treatment plans match your expectations, and that the types of procedures you are thinking about from your research match your condition and are within the doctor’s wheelhouse.
If you’re tired of suffering and want to explore treatments that could put an end to your back pain for good, contact DISC Spine Institute, experts in minimally invasive treatments, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic back pain. Texas spine surgery is easier than ever, with minimally invasive treatments that mean short hospital stays, and shorter recoveries.