If you’ve been referred to a spine surgeon from your primary care physician or another provider, it can be intimidating to head in for that consultation. However, if you know how to prepare for this consultation, and you bring a few things with you, we’re confident you’ll not only survive this appointment, you’ll thrive. Here are four things you’ll want to bring to your initial spine surgery consultation.
1. Your Medical History
It’s possible that your spine surgeon will have access to all your medical information through their database, but they may not. You can see if your primary care physician can provide them with this information, or you can ask for a printout and bring it along to your consultation. Also, regardless of whether your spine surgeon has access to your medical history, come prepared to answer questions about your health and your spine. The more information you provide, the better your spine surgeon will be able to understand the full scope of the situation.
2. Medical Images
Similar to the above point, make sure your primary care provider forwards the necessary medical imaging to your spine surgeon. They may want to take additional images of their own, but if you’ve already had an x-ray or MRI, be sure that those images are available to your spine surgeon. If you’re not sure if they’ll have access, contact your referring physician’s office or the office of the provider who ordered the images.
Remember, this consultation isn’t just for the doctor to decide if you are a candidate for conservative care or surgery, it’s also a time for you to evaluate whether or not the provider would be a good fit for your situation. Ask them about their experience with your specific situation, how it typically plays out and why they believe they are the best specialist to help with your case. If they brush you off or you don’t like what you’re hearing, consider visiting another specialist. It’s ultimately your decision, so make sure that you have confidence in your provider moving forward, and a good way to feel out the doctor is by asking questions.
4. What You’ve Been Trying
Finally, your new spine specialist is going to want to know everything you’ve been trying so far to help with your back pain. Let them know what medications you’ve been taking, what’s been working and what hasn’t when it comes to caring for your back. Also, talk to them about what actions make pain worse or provide relief. All of this will help them get a comprehensive understanding of your situation and allow them to make the best care plan moving forward.
So if you bring all these things to your consultation with a spine specialist, we know that you’ll have a great first meeting with your new provider. For more tips, or to set up an appointment with Dr. Sinicropi’s office, give him a call today.