This section is involved with surgical intervention. Surgery done for the right reason can be very gratifying. The keys to successful surgery are the correct diagnosis, the right patient (appropriate patient expectations) and the right surgery performed by the right surgeon. Obviously, the correct diagnosis is essential. This is obtained by a thorough history and physical examination, the appropriate diagnostic work-up (MRI, CT, EMG, labs, etc) and the appropriate surgical work-up(epidurals, facet blocks, SNRB, discograms).
The “right patient” means that the patient has an appropriate understanding of what the surgery will and will not do for them. Expectations are very important. If a patient’s expectations are too high (What do you mean I won’t be able to stop a bullet with my teeth?) then surgery will be ineffective, even if it is successful. Surgical education will help to set expectations.

The “right surgeon” is harder to recognize. There are many surgeons out there- some great and some not as good. It is a challenge to figure out whom to go to. You might find that this web site is a great resource but does not mean by itself that I am a great surgeon. Understanding who is technically great has to do with education, experience, care, meticulousness (bordering on obsessive-compulsive behavior) and compassion. There is no one formula to know who that surgeon is.

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