Frequently Asked Questions
Why Choose A Neurosurgeon?
- Neurosurgeons are trained specifically to perform procedures on the entire spine, whereas orthopedic spine surgeons are trained to evaluate other orthopedic injuries.
- Neurosurgeons spend over 80% of their practice treating spine disorders, whereas orthopedic Surgeons spend less time on the spine and more time with other orthopedic injuries.
- Neurosurgeons have an extended 7 year residency for training, whereas Orthopedic Spine Surgeons have a 5 year residency.
- Neurosurgeons are the only physicians who treat disorders of the entire spine and Spinal cord.
- Neurosurgeons complete more spinal surgeries in their residency and fellowship than any other specialty.
Tests Prior to Surgery
Before your surgery takes place, you may need to have a variety of X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, Lab work and or EKGs in order to make your surgery is as safe as possible.
XR/CT/MRI: These will be ordered by the discretion of Dr. Song. Each patient will have a specific series of studies done.
Lab Analysis: Each patient requiring a surgical procedure will need to have their blood drawn. This is to ensure there are no unknown abnormalities prior to surgery. These will be reviewed by your Primary Care Physician and by Dr. Song and his staff.
EKGs: This simple and fast test is needed to analyze the electrical conduction of the heart prior to any type of surgery.
Length of Hospital Stay
Length of Hospital stay differs with each patient and with each procedure performed. Hospital days may increase with co-morbidities. Some examples include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cancer or chronic pain syndrome. This can be discussed with Dr. Song and his staff prior to surgery, since every surgery and predicted hospital stay is patient specific. Barring any unforeseen complication, most patients go home 1–5 days post-operative.
What Happens Immediately after Surgery?
After your surgery is complete, you will be transferred to the PACU. This area of the hospital is where every surgical patient goes post-operative. You will be evaluated by Dr. Song as well as trained hospital staff that will monitor your condition. As you slowly recover from anesthesia, your vital signs, neurological status and motor function will be accessed regularly. Many patients will notice a dramatic improvement in their symptoms they had pre-operatively. Once the PACU staff feels you are stable for transfer, you will be moved to a more private setting either in the ICU, Step down ICU or Neurosurgical/Ortho floor. At this point, our main goal will be for you to start a clear liquid diet and to control your pain and other post-operative symptoms (nausea, drowsiness). As your condition improves, you will be asked to increase your ambulation and to start oral medication for your symptoms. Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy will be available to help you to recovery. Your incision and drain will be evaluated daily for any abnormalities. If you had a Foley catheter placed in your bladder post-operative, this will be removed once you are up and around. You will be discharged home when the hospital staff and your family decide it is safe to do so, usually within 1–5 days.
Advanced Neurosurgery clinics in Reno and Carson City are available Monday through Friday 8:30am – 5pm. The phone number is (775) 323-6100. When calling after business hours, your call will be forwarded to an On-Call Staff member. These calls will be returned as soon as possible. If for some reason you have not heard back from our office or On-Call staff, go to the nearest Emergency Room for Evaluation at once.
Call Our Office if you have: Fever of 101.5 degrees or higher, difficulty breathing/chest pain, postural headache, a sudden increase in severe pain, numbness or weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, drainage from your incision (other than occasional spotting of blood). One rare complication of surgery is internal bleeding. One of the complications of this rare occurrence is compression or increased pressure on your spinal cord. This will cause your symptoms to drastically worsen.