14 Aug Under Arizona’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance, If Your Doctor Suggests Spinal Fusion Surgery, Must You Do It?
If you have a spine-related injury while working and are now on workers’ compensation insurance benefits, your doctor may suggest that you undergo spinal infusion surgery. This is a procedure whereby vertebrae in your spine are fused together to provide more support in your back. However, you may not have as much flexibility as you did before the accident.
Your doctor can only suggest types of medical procedures that are relevant to your body’s physiology, your desire to return to work (or not), and other considerations, such as age and health. If you perform heavy manual labor before you got injured, it is highly unlikely you will ever do that kind of job again.
Do research on your situation to find out more about what you would be facing in your future and consider what types of jobs you could transition into, once you have recovered. The internet provides a lot of information that you can readily access any time of the day or night.
Look into what current medical procedures are being offered for someone in your position, as medical advances are continuously being improved on a rapid basis. For example, spinal fusion surgeries are slowly being reduced every year in favor of less intrusive back procedures, such as Motion Preservation Technology (MPT) which uses implanted cervical artificial discs.
This procedure provides far more movement capabilities for a spinal injury patient than the traditional spinal fusion procedure outcome. These procedures are cheaper as well but you must make sure that workers’ compensation will cover this for you.
Ask Your Doctor Thorough Questions
You should never immediately accept to do any kind of surgery without knowing what will be involved during the surgery, what you can expect after the surgery during the recovery period, and what you could face further along in your life. Do your research first after receiving any suggestions from your doctor as to what you could do to recover. As you gather information, make a list of questions to ask your doctor the next time you go in for treatment.
Your doctor may refer you to a surgeon specializing in different types of spinal procedures, or that surgeon may only specialize in one, spinal fusion. Be sure to ask for this information when you get that referral.
Get Second Opinions
Visit your spine surgeon and get all the information you need to make an informed decision. Then go and choose one to two other doctors to visit and find out what you can from them as well. Check first online to see if any reviews and ratings are given for the services received.
Select surgeons with different specialties to make sure you are covered with what information you need to know. You can also ask what the success rate has been for each of these doctors concerning the procedure they used on other patients.
Here are several questions you should ask while visiting your surgeon:
- Should I quit smoking? (The answer is always “Yes!”) As a suggestion, begin deep breathing exercises to expand your air intake and go for walks if you have not been doing that already.
- What are the possible complications that could arise from this type of surgery?
- Should I wear a back brace during recovery, and for how long?
- What is the typical recovery time on this procedure?
- What medications and supplements should I stop using before the surgery? (aspirin, Vitamin C, Motrin, allergy prescriptions, etc.)
- Will I also receive physical therapy as part of recovery?
Once you have received second (and third) opinions, you can decide who you want to use, based on the specialty. If you still have doubts, consider putting the surgery aside for now, until you are ready to get it done.
If you need help with your workers’ compensation claim and related medical issues, call us at once for a free consultation. We are here to help you! 602-346-9009.