Follow-up appointments for minimally invasive spine surgery are fairly brief. During a typical follow-up appointment, the spine doctor will communicate with the patient verbally to identify any subjective complaints. Then, he or she will perform a physical examination to make sure that everything is in order and healing correctly. The doctor will identify whether the pathology is corrected, such that the symptoms and back pain are alleviated. The doctor makes sure that the wound is healing properly and there is no sign of infection or anything like that.
The patient may be sent for further testing if there is something concerning. In a very rare and serious circumstance, the patient could even be admitted to the hospital if there is evidence of a complication. Generally, the patient is very happy with their recovery. Sometimes, physical therapy is a very important tool and may be recommended to the patient after they have been evaluated and the doctor wants them to return to normal activity.
Amount of Appointments
Usually, there is some kind of immediate visit from a nurse or a home health company to track the patient while they are recovering at home. The health care professional makes sure the patient has the proper brace for their postoperative needs, examines the wound to see that it is healing properly, and checks to see whether the dressings should be changed.
After the initial in-home visit, the patient comes into the office for a follow-up visit less than a week after the surgery. It is not customary or common to make many more post-op visits after that. Generally, the patient may follow up one to two months post-op. Usually, one to four visits are completely satisfactory.
It is very rare that someone would need to come back to the office for a lot of post operative care. Usually, the minimally invasive spine surgery permanently fixes the problem the patient has been struggling with.
The most common questions you will hear will include:
- How is the patient feeling?
- How is their pain level?
- Is the pain gone?
In our practice, we use specific pain index forms that the patient subjectively fills it out on every single visit. Because the surgery is performed to relieve pain, that is usually the chief concern.
Post Operative Results
The vast majority of our patients return to normal activities symptom-free. We have an extremely high success rate in the surgical procedures with few poor outcomes. The reasons for that are patient selection, surgical acumen, skilled and properly trained physicians, an amazing staff, an amazing facility, and all the tools necessary to do the job. When there is a problem, it generally occurs because the patient did not follow the instructions.