Choosing a Surgeon for Sciatica

Choosing a Surgeon for Sciatica

Many patients need help choosing a surgeon for sciatica treatment. Your choice of surgeon will directly influence the results of your therapy. Therefore, the decision on the best surgeon for your needs is a very important one and should never be made casually or without extensive thought and research. Remember that during an operation, your surgeon literally holds your life in their hands, so those hands better be both competent and capable!

Sciatica surgery remains a common practice for patients with chronic, severe symptoms. Many patients are pressured towards unnecessary surgery or premature surgery and some suffer grave complications as a result of their poor decisions. The choices involved in the surgical process are complicated and require some knowledge that unfortunately many patients simply do not possess.

The goal of this discussion is to educate sciatica sufferers on how to decide on the best surgeon to perform an operation geared towards relieving sciatica. Furthermore, we will discuss why surgery is rarely even necessary or recommended for most diagnoses.

Choosing a Surgeon for Sciatica Treatment

Surgeons generally perform invasive care procedures, but many offer services which fall short of being considered actual operations. Epidural injections are a very common practice for treating sciatica and surgeons offer the best results when it comes to safely performing these procedures.

We tend to recommend that most patients should avoid sciatica epidural injections, such as those commonly administered into the facet joints and into the intervertebral discs. Most of these injections offer little in the way of benefit and certainly demonstrate significant risk factors. Some injections can offer extended durations of pain relief and might be somewhat useful during diagnostic evaluation. Select cases involving chemical radiculitis can actually be completely resolved using flushing injections to nullify irritating disc proteins. In these circumstances, seeking an expert sciatica surgeon to perform the needed injections is a great idea. 

Make sure that the surgeon utilizes fluoroscopy to increase the accuracy of the injection procedure, as well as reduce the risks of suffering collateral damage from an errant needle.

Choosing a Surgeon for Sciatica Operations

When it comes to undergoing actual surgery, choosing a surgeon for sciatica treatment becomes even more important. Operations involve serious risk to life and limb and should only be entrusted to the most competent and experienced doctors. Furthermore, since sciatica can be caused by a wide range of conditions, it is best to select a physician who specializes in the specific type of pathology which is present.

Some of the more common structural issues that may incite sciatica include scoliosis, lumbar hyperlordosis, spinal and foraminal stenosis, herniated discs and traumatic spinal injury. All of these conditions involve highly specific interventions and each should be managed surgically by a specialist in the exact type of diagnosis to be treated. 

Sciatica surgeons are usually either orthopedic practitioners or neurosurgeons. Neurosurgeons are generally the best qualified to treat sciatica, since the condition is always a nerve pain disorder. However, in some cases, it may be advantageous to hire a team consisting of an orthopedic surgeon and a neurosurgeon, since some contributory bone conditions might be better treated by a specialist in the musculoskeletal system.

Guidance on Choosing a Surgeon for Sciatica Care

We always caution patients that surgery is rarely needed for sciatica treatment and worse still, is rarely effective. When viewed over timelines of 7 years, surgery demonstrates some of the worst results for sciatica sufferers and often exposes them to additional risks. A significant percentage of postoperative patients report feeling worse after their surgery than before. This is a terrible fate to face after undergoing such a traumatic therapy path.

Therefore, we highly recommend focusing on establishing the accuracy of the diagnosis in order to be certain that the condition to be treated is the true cause of pain. Also, we recommend exhausting conservative and moderate care methods in many case profiles and usually only recommend surgery for highly specific conditions and circumstances that provide a good hope for a true cure with limited risk to the patient’s health and life.

When surgery is deemed to be needed or wanted, patients should take their time to find the best surgeon possible and never simply agree to care with the first doctor they consult with. We are shocked that so many patients end up seeing a surgeon on a blind recommendation, knowing nothing at all about the doctor, but still allow this physician to operate on them within a few days of the initial consultation without any research as to the doctor’s credentials, litigation history or success rate. Do not be one of these clueless patients. It could cost you your life!

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