Find answers to many of our most commonly-asked questions, including what to bring to your first appointment, risks associated with brain or spine surgery, how long to expect for recovery and when you can return to work.
You or your referring provider can call our office and request an appointment. Before we make an appointment we will need office notes from your referring provider or any other provider that you are seeing for your condition. We will also need recent imaging studies performed for your condition, i.e. CT scan, MRI or X-ray.
A Compact disc (CD) or printed films of any imaging related to your condition. The report alone is insufficient. The facility where you had the CT scan or MRI done can provide the CD. This is a requirement for your appointment. Please download, print and complete the New Patient Intake form to help us get you into your consultation on time.
Neurosurgeons are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of the entire nervous system, composed of the brain, spinal cord and spinal column and peripheral nerves. No other surgical specialty trains to the same level as do board certified neurosurgeons in the management and treatment of surgical conditions of the brain and spine. Many patients think of neurosurgeons as "brain surgeons," but the majority of operations performed by neurosurgeons across the country are actually spinal surgeries. Neurosurgeons train in surgery of the spine including microdiscectomy, laminectomy, cervical and lumbar fusion, spinal instrumentation, and intradural spinal surgery during their entire residency training. This is opposed to other specialties in which their experience may be limited to a one year fellowship or a few weekend courses.
Surgery is typically recommended for elective patients who have failed conservative treatment of compression of a nerve and are still having significant symptoms. Patients with compression of their spinal cord typically require decompressive surgery. If you suddenly develop weakness in your arm(s) or leg(s), a change in bowel or bladder function, you should be evaluated for surgery right away.
There are risks associated with any type of surgery, depending on the type of surgery the patient is undergoing. Medical risks of anesthesia are dependent upon the type of anesthesia and your underlying medical condition. Some patients will require a medical clearance prior to surgery to lower this risk. The particular risks associated with your surgery will be discussed personally with Dr. Wehman.
Your recovery is dependent upon your overall medical condition, type of surgery, and personal motivation. Many minimally-invasive surgeries can allow a faster surgery to an active status. Dr. Wehman will try to provide you an estimate of your likely return to prior activities and work.
Everyone's pain is an individual, subjective experience. The goal is to manage that pain before, during and after surgery to maximize your recovery and comfort. That has to be balanced against avoiding over-sedation and dependency. The extent to which you have incisional or muscular or neuropathic pain depends on the type of surgery and your response. The first few days following surgery can be the most uncomfortable and your pain will diminish over time as you heal.
Following surgery, you will be evaluated by physical, occupational, and possibly speech therapy. Their recommendation will help tailor a personalized recovery plan. Some patients are able to go home with minimal assistance, some will need Home Health Care. Some patients will actually need In-Patient Rehabilitation to speed their recovery. This will depend upon your pre-surgery functional status and the extent of the surgery and your response to the surgery.
It is important that you be off any psychoactive medication prior to resuming driving. In addition, you must possess the necessary motor skills and decision-making ability to be safe on the road. This assessment will depend on the type of surgery you are undergoing and will be discussed at your first visit.
Return to work is dependent on the type of surgery you will undergo and the type of work that you do. For instance, undergoing a major spinal procedure will require limitations of extreme physical activity while your are recovering. Many patients with office-type work can return to work faster, essentially when they are off any sedating medication.