Before deciding on a physician, ask the right questions…

What is the¬†physician’s experience?

Choosing the doctor who is right for you and your condition depends on asking the right questions, not on gut instinct. Ask him or her the following:

  • How many patients like you has the doctor treated?
  • If the doctor recommends conservative therapy (medication, physical therapy, etc.), how long should you undergo those treatments before trying invasive pain treatments or surgery?
  • What are the short- and long-term risks of any medication or surgery the doctor prescribes?
  • How does the physician decide whether to treat you with invasive pain relieving techniques like those listed below?
    • nerve blocks
    • epidurals
    • facet blocks
    • discography
    • disc lesioning procedures
    • radiofrequency lesioning
    • vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty
    • spinal cord or peripheral nerve stimulation
    • implantable pumps
    • deep or cortical brain stimulation
  • In what order does he or she use these treatments (if one fails to help you, what will the doctor use next)?
  • What conditions does the doctor feel are best treated surgically? How does the doctor diagnose these conditions? When does a doctor refer you to another specialist?
  • If surgery is recommended, do you really need a fusion or can you get by quite well with a simpler operation?

Be realistic about what the physician can and can’t do

Know about the long-term results

Getting better for a only a few hours, days, weeks or even months from an invasive treatment designed to give long-term help is unacceptable.

  • What are the long term results of this physician’s treatments and how do they compare with results published by other doctors using the same methods in similar patients?
  • What percentage of patients similar to you were able to decrease their medication usage and increase their functional activity (at work and at home) by at least 50% for at least 18 months, following any course of conservative therapy, invasive pain management techniques, or surgery prescribed by or carried out by the doctor?
  • Were most patients like you significantly relieved or cured of their pain for years? If not, what became of them?

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Emile M. Hiesiger, M.D.

The Corinthian
345 East 37th Street
Suite 320
New York, NY 10016
• Phone (212) 697-1411 or
• Phone (212) 263-6123
• Fax (212) 697-1399

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