Complex Spine Surgery Frequently Asked Questions
Can surgery help my spinal issues?
Many people have been able to achieve pain relief and improved levels of functioning only through surgery. Augusta University Complex Spine specialists believe that careful identification of a patient-specific surgical plan and meticulous performance of the surgery are all important for a good outcome.
Is surgery 100% guaranteed?
No surgery has a 100% success rate or 0% risk of complications. Your complex spine specialist will discuss your particular case with you, including reasonable expectations for success and possible complications.
Should I consider a Neurosurgeon or Orthopaedic Surgeon for spine surgery?
The Spine Services at Augusta University provide spine surgeons with expertise in both neurosurgery and orthopaedic surgery. For example, Dr. Choudhri is a Board Certified Neurosurgeon who has completed a combined Orthopaedic/Neurosurgery Fellowship in Complex Spine Surgery at New York University Medical Center. Dr. Choudhri runs a Spine Fellowship at MCG which has accepted both Neurosurgeons and Orthopaedic surgeons to train under him. Dr. Choudhri also maintains strong ties with many Neurosurgical & Orthopaedic Spine Surgery colleagues around the country and around the world.
Do I need to be referred by a physician?
No. Patients DO NOT need to have a physician referral from our standpoint; however, some insurance plans make this a requirement, so you will need to check with your insurance provider to find out if you need a referral. It is also helpful to communicate with a Primary Care Physician and to include him/her in the plan of care.
Can I go ahead and make an appointment if I haven’t had an MRI or CT scan?
Patients referred by a physician do not necessarily need to have imaging prior to an appointment although this will help in the determination of whether or not you can be helped by the Spine Specialists at Augusta University. Patients who are self referred AND who do not have imaging or a diagnosis from a referring physician are probably not ready for a tertiary or more specialized spine evaluation. Please call our office to discuss your case further.
I had surgery but only improved for a short time. Can I still be helped?
The Spine Clinic specialists have successfully taken care of many patients who have had prior spine surgeries. Sometimes a fresh perspective will allow for identification of a reason why surgery has failed in the past and what may be done differently. Some problems are created by surgery and require additional surgery to treat them. Some problems cannot be solved with surgery and revision surgery should only be considered when it appears likely that a better outcome can be anticipated. Each patient must be considered as an individual and a careful assessment made of the risks, benefits and alternatives to more surgery.
The Medical Center at Augusta University offers translation services for international patients. Please see our International Inquiries for more information.
Do you practice Bloodless Medicine?
Although the Medical Center at Augusta University believes that blood donation and transfusion are an important part of the care of many patients, we respect each patient’s personal beliefs and preferences. Our facility has access to the latest technology in cell salvage, hemodilution, erythorocyte stimulation and autologous & directed donation. We will discuss all of these technologies with you and ask a series of “what if” questions to determine which of these may or may not be appropriate for you under various circumstances. Strict religious beliefs and strong personal feelings can and will be respected. Our bloodless medicine coordinator would be happy to meet with you to discuss your needs.
How do I get to The Medical Center at Augusta University?
Where Do I Park?
The Ambulatory Care Center (ACC) houses all of the Augusta University Health clinics, including the Augusta University Spine Clinic. As you turn off of 15th Street and drive down Harper street, you will see the large Ambulatory Care Center in front of you. Drive under the ACC and start looking left. After the deli and the Credit Union, you will see the entrance to the Harper Street Parking Deck.