Before surgery do you have contingency plans if things change in the surgery or your findings are different once you open?
I order a lot of studies to look at all of the detailed anatomy, including a CT scan prior to surgery so that I can measure each bone that I will place screws into, to ensure the perfect selection of screw sizes at every level. I actually create a chart with the bones that will be fused and the size of the screws at every level then confirm that during surgery with x-ray imaging. Because the preoperative planning is so extensive, it is very rare that my plan changes during surgery. Well-planned elective surgery is not exploratory.
Patients ask me all the time, “what if you find this or what if you find that?” I always respond it’s pretty rare. It can happen, but I have literally ordered every reasonable test to identify what’s wrong with the spine before deciding on surgery. So although it is possible, it is very uncommon for the plan to change. The more thorough the workup and the more meticulous the technique, the better the outcomes. ~Dr Cyr #SASpine