How Is Your Health?

Choosing Your Neurosurgeon: Helpful Tips

by Camila Davidson

The prospect of having to have any surgery can be intimidating. But neurosurgery can be even more intimidating; you worry about how your life may change if your surgeon were to make a mistake. You hope that your surgeon does an amazing job so that you don't have to have any follow-up surgeries. One way to ease your worry is to spend ample time selecting your neurosurgeon. You need to pick the surgeon who is right for you, and the tips below will help with that.

1. Look at experience

Neurosurgery is a very specialized field of medicine already, but there are also specialties within neurosurgery. Some surgeons may have had more experience removing cancerous lesions from the occipital lobe, for instance, while others have focused primarily on midbrain lesions. Look for a surgeon who has performed the specific procedure you need hundreds or even thousands of times. The more specific experience they have with your condition, the more comfortable you can feel in their hands.

2. Ask your primary care physician for recommendations

Talk to the doctor who recommended you have neurosurgery — whether that's a primary care doctor or a neurologist — and see who they recommend you have perform the surgery. You do not have to use the surgeon your doctor recommends if you don't feel comfortable doing so, but in many cases, this is a good approach. When your doctor has an established relationship with the surgeon, they can better pass on information about you and your health condition, which might help the surgeon take a more informed approach.

3. Meet them in person

These days, it's easy to browse for and find doctors online. This is convenient, but it is also less personal than interviewing doctors in person. With a high-risk procedure like neurosurgery, it's better to meet with doctors in person. Meet with a few surgeons, and see who you feel most comfortable around. Find a surgeon who you feel like you can talk openly with, and who seems to answer your questions well. This is important since you'll likely have follow-up visits with the surgeon after surgery, and those visits will be more productive and beneficial if you're able to communicate well with your surgeon. 

Choosing a neurosurgeon can be a little nerve-wracking, but if you follow the tips above, you should be able to find someone with whom you feel comfortable and confident.