When do I need to see a neurosurgeon?
It’s important to have good communications with your primary care physician.
If you have been experiencing backpain for 6 weeks or more, which is not relieved with conservative treatment, you may want to ask your doctor if a referral for a neurosurgical opinion is appropriate.
If you are experiencing extremity pain, numbness, or weakness, this can be an indication that you need to consult a neurosurgeon.
If you have sudden loss of bowel or bladder control, you should see a physician right away, because this can indicate a serious nerve problem.
Neurosurgeons also are on call 24/7 at the hospital for traumatic events affecting the brain and spine.
Why is a board-certified neurosurgeon the best doctor to take care of me?
Neurosurgeons have extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the entire nervous system, including the brain, spine, and the peripheral nerves, which travel to all parts of the body. Board- certified neurosurgeons train longer and to a higher level than any other specialty in surgical conditions of the brain and spine. Most of Dr. Caruso’s practice is comprised of spine surgery, both complex, as well as minimally invasive. Beware of highly promoted laser spine centers which require hefty cash up front. We are always available to offer honest second opinions.
How do I make an appointment?
Ideally, your primary care physician should give you a referral to a neurosurgeon after they have already tried conservative treatment, and ordered some imaging, such as x-rays, CT scans, or MRI’s. Some insurances require this. You can call our office between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, and we will be happy to get you in as soon as possible, with or without imaging.
Will I always get to see Dr. Caruso?
Dr. Caruso is the only physician at Parkway Brain and Spine. Dr. Caruso meets some patients on the initial visit, however, your first appointment may be with one of our 2 experiences neurosurgical Certified Physician Assistants, in order to get you in quickly, or if he gets called out for an emergency. Dr. Caruso will consult with them and determine the course of action. He will then discuss with you indepth whether or not your condition would likely improve with surgery, and make sure you have a thorough and honest understanding of your condition and treatment. Our office was designed to enable him to have the highest accessibility to our health-care team and patients.
What should I bring to my first appointment?
Some paperwork is required for you 1st appointment. The best way to do this is to register for our patient portal on this website. The next best way to do this is to print out the new patient forms on this website and fill them out ahead of time. If neither of these works for you, we will have the forms available for you, but we’ll need you to show up 30 minutes before your appointment time in order to fill them out.
We will also need your insurance cards, a photo ID, any co-pay required by your insurance, a referral if required by your insurance, and any copies or CDs of imaging, such as x-rays CT scans, or MRIs if you’ve had the within the past year.
If you have a list of medications or pervious surgeries, it would be helpful to bring a copy.
If I need surgery, what happens next?
If it is determined that surgery will improve your condition, you will be given detailed instructions. You may need certain health clearances from your primary care physician which can include bloodwork , imaging, or an EKG. We will supply you with cleansing sponges to clean the area of surgery. When we receive all the required information to ensure a safe and successful surgery, we will then schedule a time. It’s important to follow the guidelines, or your surgery can be delayed!
***Please do not take any bloodthinners for 7 days prior to surgery, including Ibuprofen, or NSAIDs, Advil, Alieve, Naprosen, or asprin! (Tylenol is acceptable for those who can tolerate it )
What are the risks and recovery time?
Pain, risks, and recovery time vary from individual to individual. Factors such as age, fitness, medical history, smoking, obesity, and even attitude and motivation, can play a role. These will be discussed in depth on an individual basis.
Where will my surgery be scheduled?
Dr. Caruso currently operates at Meritus Medical Center, Chambersburg Hospital and does minimally invasive same-day procedures at Parkway Surgical Center in Hagerstown. The location of your surgery may be determined by your insurance coverage.
What happens after surgery?
Dr. Caruso will talk with you and your family about what to expect for recovery and you will be scheduled for a post-op appointment at the office for a follow-up visit. If necessary, we will refer you to physical therapy, pain management, or whatever else is determined to aid your recovery.
Will Dr. Caruso be upset if I get a second opinion from him and choose to go elsewhere?
Not at all! All surgical candidates are encouraged to get as much information as possible, until they’re comfortable enough to make a decision.
I was sent to see Dr. Caruso, and I credit him for saving my life.— Jimmy S. —