While caution should be exercised when seeking a doctor to perform any surgery, it is especially important in the case of neurosurgery. Neurosurgery, which can involve the nerves, the brain, and the spinal cord, requires a special skill set and competence level on behalf of the surgeon. With that in mind, here are five qualities to consider when seeking a surgeon to evaluate your surgical needs and, if necessary, to perform the surgery.
1. Training. Neurosurgery involves highly technical procedures requiring specialized training. Your neurosurgeon should possess such training, while exhibiting an exemplary knowledge of what's involved. Furthermore, your neurosurgeon should be board-certified and be able to present you with evidence of that certification.
2. Experience. Ideally, your neurosurgeon will have years of experience and will have previously conducted dozens of procedures similar to yours. More importantly, his or her success rate will be stellar when compared to the national average for such a procedure. Ask your potential neurosurgeon for documentation concerning his or her experience. If the request is not honored, seek elsewhere for your surgeon.
3. Approachability. It is natural for a neurosurgical patient to have many questions and concerns that must be addressed prior to the surgery. Your neurosurgeon should be willing to set aside time to meet with you, discuss the issues, explain potential complications, and set your mind at ease. If the neurosurgeon you are considering is not willing to meet with you, seems impatient with you, or is unwilling/unable to answer your questions to your satisfaction, it may be best to move on to the next candidate.
4. Conservative. Neurosurgery is not something to rush into, so your neurosurgeon should consider all possible non-invasive treatment options before settling on surgery. Additionally, he or she should encourage you to seek a second opinion to confirm if the surgery is necessary or if there are treatment options that have been overlooked.
5. Comfort. Does the neurosurgeon inspire confidence in you? Are you confident that he or she can give the surgery its best chance of success? If you are not comfortable with your choice of neurosurgeon, you should see what other options are available to you.
Invest the time necessary to find the right neurosurgeon to evaluate your condition and to perform any surgery deemed necessary. If you do, it can pay dividends both during the procedure and throughout the recovery time. While understanding that — in some cases — options and time may be limited, making the right decision will greatly affect your prognosis.