@collierga You can call your health insurance and ask for their list of highly rated spine surgeons. They keep track of statistics of success rates, and will have a list of preferred doctors. Then you can look them up. There is also Becker's Spine Review and US News and World report that has information about surgeons. Becker's has a list of surgeons to know and tells you where they practice and what research they are doing. If you let me know where you are (nearest city), I can see if I can find some for you. Perhaps other patients may have suggestions too. Is there a medical school or university teaching hospital near you? I know surgery is very scary, and complications are also dependent on how healthy you are before surgery. That is also why you need a highly skilled doctor because they have less complications, and you need to do your part to be healthy, and have your vitamin D levels checked and optimized and take vitamins and eat a healthy diet. All of that helps recovery. Also ask yourself and any specialist that sees you, what your future will be like in you do no surgery and how that might change over time as bone spurs keep growing and arthritis gets worse. It can change quickly and you may find yourself in an emergency surgery situation. If you do your homework now and find a surgeon you have confidence in, you will be prepared to make a decision when you are ready. If you have emergency surgery, you likely will not have a choice of surgeons, and it will be who ever is on call from an emergency room. If you want to be able to make that choice yourself, you will need to search for a good one. There are patients with poor outcomes, and there may be reasons for that beyond the surgeon's control, so you can't let that influence your decision. If you educate yourself about the procedures and risks, and about what other procedures could address the same problem, you'll have more information for your decision. This is a big surgery, but it wasn't as bad as I had imagined it would be. I found I could manage without pain medicine at all right after my procedure. I just rested and slept. The meds also nauseated me. The pain that was far worse that this surgery was from an epidural injection in my spine done by a local doctor (not at Mayo) that caused shooting burning electrical nerve pains that kept zapping me for several weeks because the fluid injected had no place to go and it put pressure on already compressed nerves. I understand how daunting this is with this hanging over you, and I had significant fears, but I found my own ways to overcome them with creativity, and this became a big learning experience for me. I have to use my tactics again now because I'm facing some oral surgery that worries me, but I know that I have the capability to work though all the emotions, and the final result will be better. I can help talk you through some of that. I am glad I did this surgery. I was able to make a choice that prevented having a disability in my future. I am grateful I had that choice and could choose to have a better life.