Four Questions to Ask Before Spine Surgery

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If you’ve been told you need spine surgery, it’s smart to get a second opinion. Here are questions to ask any surgeon to help decide where to be treated.


Q: Do they have spine surgery specialists?

A: “For any problem, you want a team that specializes in that surgery, because more experience leads to better success rates,” explains Christopher J. DeWald, MD, spine surgeon. “At Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, we have the largest team of neck, back and spine specialists in the region. And our surgeons are leaders in their field, teaching the techniques and procedures we have helped pioneer.”

Q: Do they offer less invasive options?

A: “Two-thirds of patients who come here expecting surgery, do not end up having surgery,” says April Fetzer, DO, physiatrist. “At Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, we have experts in non-surgical alternatives, including injections, pain medicine and rehabilitation options. And, if surgery is needed, many of our spine surgeries are done minimally invasive, because our surgeons invented techniques used throughout the world.”

Q: How experienced are they at this procedure?

A: “Once you know the type of procedure they recommend, the next question is how many have they done?” asks Frank M. Phillips, MD, spine surgeon. “Spine surgery teams at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush perform the same type of surgeries day in and day out. In fact, no spine surgery team in the region has more experience. And for surgery- especially complex surgeries—the more experience the better.”

Q:What are their success rates?

A: “Hospitals and surgeons are required to report their success rates for every surgical procedure,” explains Kern Singh, MD, spine surgeon. “So, it’s important to ask your surgeon about his or her success rates. The spine surgeons at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush are very experienced and our success rates are among the best in the country. Which is one of the reasons why the orthopedic program at Rush is ranked among the nation’s best by U.S.News & World Report.”


The section of spine, back, and neck surgery at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush is comprised of board certified orthopedic doctors, physician assistants and registered orthopedic nurse specialists. Together, this team of leading experts can help diagnose, evaluate and treat patients with varying degrees of neck pain and back pain. Our spine doctors are among the best in Chicago—and the nation—and can help relieve your neck pain or back pain.

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