Spine Doctors
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With surgery of the spine, experience is everything.

5 Things You Must Know Before Surgery Learn About Our Spine Safe Operating Room Panic Button Click here if the idea of surgery scares you

12 Questions to Ask
Your Spine Doctors

  1. Is your surgical practice limited to spine?

    [Dr. Stern and Dr. Neubardt are spine doctors - they work together treating the spine only.]

  2. How many years have you been in practice?

    [Dr. Neubardt has been in practice 16 years and Dr. Stern for 27 years.]

  3. Have you done a spine fellowship?

    [Dr. Neubardt completed the NYU combined Orthopedic-Neurosurgical fellowship in spine surgery.]

  4. Do you do more than 200 spinal operations each year?

    [Experience comes with doing many cases. Dr. Stern and Dr. Neubardt do over 200 spinal surgeries each year.]

  5. Is my surgery being done at a teaching hospital?

    [We work at a private hospital which does not have any medical students, interns, residents or fellows. When it comes to your surgery, make sure it is being done in a place that is not a teaching environment.]

  6. Click Here for Printable Version with Questions OnlyWill you be in the operating room the ENTIRE time that I am under anesthesia?

    [It is not uncommon for attending surgeons in teaching hospitals to be present for only part of the operation. You need to make sure that your spine doctor is there the whole time. The spine is very fragile and you should not be left in the care of anyone but your surgeon. Both Dr. Neubardt and Dr. Stern will be present for your entire operation and Dr. Neubardt will be the one to personally close the skin.]

  7. Do you have medical students, interns, residents or fellows scrubbed into the surgery with you?

    [We don’t have any of those people involved with your care. If they are scrubbed in it means that they will be participating in the surgery. Dr. Stern and Dr. Neubardt work together with no one else scrubbed in besides the scrub nurse who assists us. When it comes to your surgery, why trust any part of it to someone in training?]

  8. Do you do the suturing to close the skin on all of your surgeries?

    [Dr. Neubardt will be the one to personally close the skin. We feel that even your wound needs the best, most experienced attention as that is the scar that will be on your back forever. Why let training spine doctors perform this part of the procedure when it comes to your back?]

  9. Who is your assistant? Do you operate with another spinal specialist?

    [Sometimes spinal surgeons will use an assistant who is trained as a surgeon but is not a spinal specialist. For your back, you should make sure that anyone operating is a spinal specialist and not just a general orthopedic surgeon, a general surgeon or a nurse. When you have surgery with the team of Dr. Stern and Dr. Neubardt you can rest assured that they will be working together without assistance from anyone else.]

  10. Are all of the anesthesiologists board certified? Are there medical students, interns, residents, fellows or nurse practitioners involved in any part of the anesthesia?

    [At our facility all of our anesthesiologists are board certified and we do not have anyone else involved in your care. When it comes to your surgery, why trust any part of it to someone in training?]

  11. If requested, can I have your cell phone number for emergencies?

    [This is a good test of whether your spine doctor is really going to “be there for you.” We can’t understand why any surgeon wouldn’t want to hear from a patient having a problem. We are more than happy to give you our number should you need to reach us, night or day, in an emergency. Getting in touch with your doctor is very important. Go ahead and call our office number right now to test how easy it is to reach either Ellen or Alison. When they answer, just tell them you are testing the phone and they will understand. Next, try the same test with any other surgeon you are considering.]

  12. After surgery, do I see you every time or someone else? Who takes out my sutures or staples? Is that person a board certified spinal surgeon?

    [Many surgeons do the surgery and then leave the follow up to other people. We take responsibility for your care. Only Dr. Neubardt and Dr. Stern will be the ones to see you on all of your post operative visits. If sutures or staples need to be removed, one of us will personally do it.]