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Curious? Concerned? Just click on the links below for answers to some of our most frequently asked questions. You can even submit your own question about your condition or our services. This archive does not address all conditions, and answers to specific problems may not apply to everyone so, if you have been injured or are experiencing medical symptoms, be sure to consult a doctor. Click below for more information on:

Frequently Asked Questions About Neck & Back Procedures

Q: What types of spine specialists can I expect to see when scheduling through Texas Health Spine & Orthopedic Center?

A: The Texas Health Spine & Orthopedic Center works with more than 40 participating physicians. Each physician’s medical team varies but may include board-certified orthopedic spine surgeons, neurosurgeons, medical physicians, internists, physiatrists, pain specialists, exercise physiologists, and a team of physical therapists who are dedicated to helping patients get back to life.

Q: What can I expect on my first appointment?

A: On the day of your appointment, you will need to arrive with the new-patient forms completed, and any films and reports from previous doctors. A chart will then be created and you’ll meet with your new doctor who will go over your medical history, conduct an examination and review any prior x-rays and reports. It may be necessary to order new testing on this day or in the near future. Once all testing has been done and information has been gathered, your physician can provide a diagnosis and treatment options.

Q: How do I know whether I need neck or back surgery?

A: When pain interferes with your ability carry out daily activities or disturbs your sleep, it may be time to consider surgery. Conservative treatments are always considered prior to surgery.

Q: How can I prepare for surgery?

A: There are several things you can do to enhance the results of your surgery and make your recovery safer and more comfortable:

  • Arrange for help after you get home.
  • If your doctor has suggested you lose weight, try changing your diet and be as active as you can. Be sure that any dieting involves maintaining good nutrition. Malnutrition is one of the factors that will adversely affect healing after surgery.
  • If you’re a smoker, try to quit. Smoking can slow down your healing.
  • Ask your doctor about the available classes on strengthening exercises you can do before surgery to reduce healing time.

Q: Can I take my usual medications before surgery?

A: When you have your pre-operative physical, the doctor will address each of your medicines and their use prior to surgery. Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines, mainly NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) including aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, affect the blood\’s ability to clot. You should stop taking them for 5 days before your operation. Unless otherwise discussed, you should stay on your regular blood pressure or other medications for the heart. You can take your morning medications before surgery with a small sip of water. Be sure to bring your medications to the hospital to review with the nurses and doctors.

Q: How long will I miss work?

A: There are many factors that contribute to the suggested length of time away from work after surgery, including the type of procedure you\’ve undergone, the physical demands of your job and your medical history. Your surgeon will determine how much time you should allow before returning to work. We offer several minimally invasive surgical options that allow patients to spend less time in the hospital and help them return to their normal daily activities more quickly.

Q: Why do I have to take a blood-thinning drug after surgery?

A: Any kind of invasive surgery increases your risk of developing blood clots. The blood thinners—or anticoagulants—reduce the risk of clots. We use different medicines based on each patient’s procedure and clotting risk.

Q: What should I not do after neck or back surgery?

A: Every patient’s condition and treatment options can vary greatly. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on what not to do after surgery. Use common sense, and if you are concerned about any specific activity please contact your physician.