Second Opinion Spine Specialists
We encourage all of our patients who are considering surgery to get a second opinion. It is our feeling that the more you know about your condition the better you will be able to make appropriate decisions about your treatment.
Dr. Neubardt and Dr. Stern are considered “Second Opinion Spine Specialists” because of their unique advanced qualifications and years of experience treating spinal disorders. We are available to see you for a consultation and review films to help you make the proper decision about treatment. Most patients find that seeing an Orthopedic Surgeon and a Neurosurgeon at the same visit gives them the greatest understanding of their condition. It is also possible to include our Physiatrist, Brad Cash M.D., at the same consultation so that you can get the opinion of someone who does not perform surgery but is an expert in treating back pain. Seeing three physicians at the one visit to our office will leave no stone unturned.
Certain aspects of spinal surgery can be very complicated but, quite honestly; once your problem has been identified it’s really not too hard for any patient to understand what it takes to fix the problem. The trick is to have a spine specialist who is willing to take the time to explain it all to you. With high resolution MRI images and plastic models we will explain, in plain English, the mechanical problem and show you how we propose to repair it.
For most patients, once they see the problem with their own eyes, they have a much easier time understanding the role that surgery has in making them better. We feel that it’s always best if your body heals itself and fixes the problem on its own. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen. Once surgery has been deemed the best available method to fix your problem, we will use the most minimally invasive techniques possible.
Let’s face it, no one without pain just wakes up one day and says, “I have nothing to do today so let’s have spinal surgery.” The patients we see are usually in terrible pain and just fed up living like that. Being in pain is depressing and can affect how you act at work and at home. People in pain don’t sleep well and are very “on edge”. They are not themselves and lose the fun of life. Many people around them don’t understand their behavior and just see them as someone who is grouchy and miserable. We appreciate that the choice to have surgery is not easy, but if you are not getting better on your own then having a procedure must be considered. Once that point is reached, it’s important to educate yourself about all the options for treatment.
The second and third opinions are helpful because they make you familiar with the source of your pain, the surgical options, the risks/benefits/alternatives to surgery and the medical language we use when discussing your problem. Once you have spoken to us and understand why we are suggesting a procedure your fear level will come way down. We encourage you to bring your family and friends to hear the explanation. Many people come with questions written down and are educated as we go over each question. We outline the risks very clearly. Most patients are very surprised to find that the things they are most worried about almost never happen.
It cannot be stressed enough that it’s very important to get the second opinion from a spine specialist who is qualified to give the second opinion. There’s no point spending time with a physician who doesn’t know what they are talking about. For starters, you need to see someone who just does spinal surgery.
Spinal surgery is very specialized and you will want your case reviewed by a team that has the following qualifications:
Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon
Board Certified Neurosurgeon
Well trained, having done a Spinal Fellowship
More than 15 years of experience in practice (wisdom)
Familiar with the latest technology
Does only spinal surgery in his/her practice
Active practice, doing over 200 surgery cases per year.
Able to have a hands on approach and willing to spend time with you