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When to have spine surgery

When to have spine surgery

A Comprehensive Guide by an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon


As an orthopedic spine surgeon, my primary concern is your well-being and quality of life. Back surgery is a significant decision that should be carefully considered. In this article, we'll delve into the important factors that can help you determine the right time for back surgery.

Understanding Back Pain and Surgery

Back pain is a common ailment that affects millions of people worldwide. While most cases can be managed through conservative treatments like physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle adjustments, there are instances where surgical intervention becomes a viable option. The decision to undergo back surgery is not one to be taken lightly. It requires thorough evaluation, consultation with medical professionals, and a clear understanding of your individual circumstances.

Surgery may be recommended when non-surgical methods have failed to provide relief and the pain is significantly affecting your daily life. It's crucial to undergo a comprehensive assessment that includes a thorough medical history, physical examination, imaging studies, and discussions with your healthcare team.

Factors to Consider

Severity of Symptoms: Assess the severity of your symptoms and how they impact your ability to perform daily tasks, work, and enjoy life. Severe pain, weakness, numbness, or loss of bladder/bowel control may indicate a more urgent need for surgery.

Conservative Treatments: Have you exhausted non-surgical treatments? Your healthcare provider will likely recommend a range of conservative measures before considering surgery.

Diagnosis: The type of spinal condition you have, such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or scoliosis, will influence whether surgery is a suitable option.

Health Status: Your overall health and medical history play a role in determining your candidacy for surgery. A thorough evaluation of your cardiovascular, respiratory, and other systems is necessary.

Expectations: Understand the potential outcomes and realistic expectations of surgery. It's essential to have open conversations with your surgeon to set achievable goals.

Second Opinion: Seeking a second opinion from another qualified spine specialist can provide additional perspectives and ensure you're making the right decision for your situation.


Ultimately, the right time for back surgery is a highly personalized decision. It's not about rushing into a procedure but rather about careful consideration and consultation with medical professionals. Your spinal health is a vital component of your overall well-being, and with the right guidance, you can make a decision that aligns with your needs and goals. 

Remember, I am here to guide you through this journey, providing expert advice and compassionate care every step of the way. Your comfort and health are my top priorities.

Farbod Rastegar, MD

Cincinnati Elite Orthopedic & Spine logo
1537 S Breiel Blvd
Middletown, OH 45044
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