Are you a UnitedHealthcare patient who’s considering spine surgery? When it comes to taking care of your health, it’s essential to make fully informed decisions about your medical treatments. So before consenting to a major neck or back operation, make sure you’ve explored the possibility of minimally invasive spine surgery. There may be more benefits than you realize.
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery—More Than Just Small Incisions
Minimally invasive surgery differs from traditional open surgery in many ways. Most people think of the obvious: Open surgery relies on one long incision to gain access to your internal structures, such as your bones or organs, whereas minimally invasive surgery is performed through much smaller openings.
Though this is true, the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery go far beyond incision size. With the help of special equipment, including real-time X-ray imaging and operating microscopes, trained spine surgeons can carry out the operation with less trauma to your surrounding muscles and tissues. As a result, you are likely to experience:
- Less pain after surgery
- Minimal blood loss
- Shorter time spent in surgery
- Decreased risk of infection
- Shorter hospital stays
- Shorter recovery times
- Smaller scars
But is minimally invasive spine surgery an option to treat your particular back or neck condition? There’s a good chance it is! From degenerative disc disease to herniated discs to spinal stenosis, many common conditions can now be repaired with a minimally invasive procedure.
Preparing for Surgery to Achieve the Best Outcomes
Taking the time to prepare and plan ahead for your minimally invasive spine surgery will help ensure a smooth process and successful outcome. Here are some tips:
- Maximize your health. The more you can improve your overall health leading up to surgery, the better. Simple things such as eating right and exercising regularly can make a big difference. Talk to your doctor about specific exercises to strengthen your back and neck. Stay on top of your preventive healthcare, including wellness exams and screenings, to avoid other health problems.
- Understand your insurance benefits. Coverage, co-payments, out-of-pocket maximums ... health insurance can sometimes be confusing to navigate. Contact a UnitedHealthcare representative if you have any specific questions regarding your plan or how to find a surgeon who’s in your network. Also, any potential surgeon’s office should be able to provide you with information about your expected treatment costs so you don’t have any financial surprises down the line.
- Make the most of your doctor’s visits prior to surgery. This is the time to get to know your surgeon and address any concerns you have so you can go into surgery feeling comfortable and confident in your decision. Write down questions as they arise and bring them with you to your appointment. Jot down important notes during your visit. Ask what you can expect in terms of recovery and what you can do to prepare at home.
If you’d like to learn more about your options for minimally invasive spine surgery, schedule a consultation with a surgeon at DISC Sports & Spine Center. Now in-network with UnitedHealthcare, our team is dedicated to finding you the least invasive treatment that will deliver the best results.
About the author
Robert S. Bray, Jr., M.D. Nicknamed “Dr. Fix-It” by The Red Bulletin, Robert S. Bray, Jr., M.D. makes an art of helping the world’s most elite athletes return to push the boundaries of performance. The neurological spine surgeon, recognized globally for his thorough diagnoses and pioneering minimally invasive approach, is quickly redefining sports medicine, one champion at a time. Dr. Bray founded the state-of-the-art, multi-disciplinary DISC Sports & Spine Center (DISC) in 2006 located in Los Angeles, CA. Read more articles by Robert S. Bray, Jr., M.D..