Neurosurgery FAQ

Q. What should I expect when I see a neurosurgeon?

Back and neck pain, or surgery that involves the brain, can be scary for the patient and their family. First and foremost, the surgeons want to ease your fear by sitting down for an unhurried, one-on-one conversation. During your initial exam, you will discuss your condition, including medical history, symptoms and your expectations for treatment.

Q. What if I don’t want to have surgery?

Don’t be afraid to speak up about your comfort level with certain treatments. A neurosurgeon’s ability to treat back and neck pain is not limited to surgery. Your surgeon may suggest you begin with a more conservative treatment for your pain, such as heat or ice, physical therapy, back exercises, weight reduction, steroid injections, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications or limited activity. If they are not effective, you may then decide to consider surgery.

Q. If I choose to have surgery, how long will I need to be off from work?

This depends on your situation. The length of time to take off work or limit certain activities is highly variable and will be decided by your surgeon.

Q. What tests will I need prior to surgery?

Neurosurgeons make their diagnosis based on your health history, symptoms, and physical exam, plus the results of diagnostic studies, if necessary. These tests may include a CT scan, electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction study, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), myleogram or selective nerve root block.

Q. Will I have pain after surgery?

Pain is common following surgery but should gradually resolve. You will be prescribed pain medications to help with the pain. You should take it as directed. You can supplement with over-the-counter medications, but you should avoid taking additional Tylenol with many of the common pain medications. Heat or ice may also be helpful after surgery.