“That was the Worst X-Ray I have ever seen!”

“That was the Worst X-Ray I have ever seen!”

“That was the Worst X-Ray I have ever seen!”

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As a Spine Surgeon and Specialist,  I have had the honor of treating many people.  It sounds cliche, but I enjoy the personal interaction, and my goal is to educate people to understand their condition.  While many are in significant pain during some of the evaluations,  it is important for me to communicate the nature of the problem,  and the complexity of the plan.  Only through informed dialogue,  can people understand the goals,  and have realistic expectations.  Having performed many a second opinion  AFTER a person has already had surgery,  I know dissatisfaction is often the result of sub optimal communication,  and unrealistic expectations of the surgery.

There is a disconnect when you speak to both parties.  The patient still feels they should be better,  even though they are now walking and functional.  The surgeon feels the goals of the surgery has been met.  Yet,  there is disappointment by the patient because there is still some residual pain,  or numbness.    My goal is to try to avoid this too common scenario.

Some of the source of the disconnect is a statement like “That was the worst X-Ray I have ever seen” from the treating doctor.  While that statement impresses the severity of the problem to the patient,  it is likely an exaggeration,  or  the doctor is brand new to practice.    That statement can be a source of misunderstanding.  Certainly,  the finding must be severe.  The word “worst” however,  has too great an influence in the process.

The word “worst” introduces too much emotion into the discussion.  Surgery,  especially elective surgery,  should be a calculated decision based on the risks and benefits to the patient.  Certain adjectives impart an urgency to make a decision.  In my opinion,  unless the problem is a limb or life threatening emergency,  the term “worst”  should not be part of the discussion.

Some Surgeons will say we are being too cautious,  and we are asking too much of our patients when deferring the decision to them.  In non life or limb  threatening situations,  Patients should be given all the information so they can make an informed decision.  An informed patient is usually a realistic patient,  and usually a much happier patient after surgery.  

This blog is written by John Shim MD and based on over 20 years practice as an orthopaedic spine surgeon.

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Author and Contributor to www.Spine-Health.com – July, 2015

www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

Board Member Morton Plant Mease Research Council

Co-Director of Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.

One of “6 Spine Physicians Ranked #1 on Google” – December 2016

Top Ten Most Liked Spine Surgeons on the Internet – July 2016

2016 Spine Surgeons to Know list – January 2016

2014 Spine Specialists to know list – September 2014

One of Ten Leaders of Certified Spine Programs – December 2011

 

The Best Orthopedics in Tampa

The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
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