I’m having surgery with Prof Matthew Scott-Young

Before being recommended surgery, you will generally have tried an extensive period of non-operative treatment without successful resolution or reduction of your symptoms.  Spine surgery is recommended where it is felt that further conservative treatment is unlikely to help.  But there are cases when spine surgery is appropriate without trialling non-operative solutions.  This may occur because of the severity of your symptoms, the urgent nature of your condition or because conservative treatment is not suitable for the condition.

Your surgeon will discuss the recommended surgery with you, outlining expected results and potential risks. Your surgeon will also answer any questions you have about your procedure.  You will be given written information about the surgery to assist you in making your decision.  We suggest that you write down a list of questions as they come to you when reviewing the material.

If surgery is recommended, you will also receive a Surgical Estimate. This estimate outlines the costs of your procedure and allows you to consider whether you want to proceed with surgery under the care of Dr Scott-Young.

If you have other medical conditions or a complex condition, you may need to be reviewed by other specialists to make sure you are ready for surgery.  You can find out more about this process by looking at Carole’s Journey.

You may also need to make some lifestyle changes and/or reach some goals before you are ready for surgery. For example, you may need to lose weight or stop smoking. Have a look at John’s Journey.

When you are ready to proceed with surgery, you will attend a consent appointment with Dr Scott-Young. During this appointment, he will review the surgical procedure with you again and answer any questions you have about your procedure, the expected outcomes, and your recovery.

Our Surgical Services team will then complete the necessary paperwork with you and book a surgery date.

After your consent appointment, you will attend a pre-assessment session with Physio Next Door, our partners in spinal rehabilitation.  They will do a pre-admission assessment for your surgeon and discuss your admission to hospital as it relates to their role.  They will be seeing you while you are in hospital to start your rehabilitation and make sure you achieve the necessary physical goals to enable you to be discharged.

In the week prior to surgery, you will attend a Pre-Admission Clinic at Pindara Private Hospital. At this clinic, you will be seen by a nurse or medical officer who will assess you and arrange for a number of investigations to be done. These tests will include a chest x-ray, blood tests, an ECG and other baseline health assessments.  They will answer any questions you have about your stay in hospital and your needs after you are discharged.


If your surgeon has recommended that you undergo surgery or another procedure, you will be provided with an estimate in relation to your surgeon’s fees. The estimate will note what pre-payment is required prior to your procedure taking place.

Please note that pre-payments for procedures are due 10 business days prior to your procedure.

Pre-payment for your procedure may be made through our Westpac Bank Pay Way Portal. Alternatively, you can pay using Cash, Bank Cheque, EFTPOS, Credit Card (Visa and Mastercard) or via EFT payment through internet banking.


IMPORTANT: If you get a cold or a fever during the week before surgery, or if your health changes in any way, contact our surgical services team immediately.

On the morning of your surgery, you will be admitted to Pindara Private Hospital.

The details of your stay in hospital will depend on the surgery you are having and how your recovery goes in hospital.  More information may be found in our Patient Journeys.

In general, the immediate postoperative period in hospital focuses on managing pain, keeping you well hydrated, checking your surgical results with an Xray, awaiting a return of bowel function and getting you mobile.

What to bring to hospital:

  • Medicare, pension and/or Veteran’s affairs cards
  • Name and contact number of next of kin
  • All paperwork the surgeon and hospital has given you
  • All medications in the supplied named boxes and any natural remedies used
  • Anti-constipation medications or supplements taken at home
  • Any mobility aids used at home (ie. walker)
  • Eyeglasses and hearing aids, if worn
  • Flat, non-slip shoes or slippers
  • Nightclothes (loose fitting) and a dressing gown if desired (a hospital gown will be worn for the first two days)
  • Day clothes if you wish to dress during the day or if you will be attending rehabilitation
  • Underwear and toiletries
  • Your continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, if you use one
  • Books, magazines etc

Please do not bring:

  • Large amounts of money or several credit cards
  • Jewellery or other valuables (the hospital does not accept responsibility for the loss or damage that may occur to items that you bring)
  • Alcohol
  • Illegal drugs

After surgery, it is important to eat well, have plenty of rest, undertake gentle exercise and follow any restrictions advised by your surgeon.

Two weeks after being discharged from hospital, you will have your first post-operative appointment with Dr Scott-Young. At this appointment, he will review how you are recovering, check your wound and answer any questions you have.

Patients who live more than two hours away from the Gold Coast are required to stay on the Gold Coast until their two-week post-discharge appointment.  This is to ensure that you are close to your surgeon if any problems or complications occur. See Russell’s Journey for more information about having surgery when you don’t live locally.

Physio Next Door, will supervise your physiotherapy program and be a point of contact should you have any questions about your rehabilitation.

You will be reviewed by Dr Scott-Young again, three months and six months post-operatively.  We will also check in on you at one year after your surgery.

Spine surgery is a temporary condition that affects your ability to drive safely. The anaesthetic and medication you take after surgery can also affect your ability to drive. You must not drive before your two-week post-discharge appointment. You can then discuss returning to driving with Dr Scott-Young at that appointment.

Our aim is to get you back to work and your usual activities. Recovery timelines for returning to work can vary between patients– it can take between 6 weeks to 3 months for most people to be able to return to work. In some cases, more time may be needed. As a general rule, people with sedentary/desk jobs return to work sooner, while people with physical, labour-intensive jobs require more time.

Dr Scott-Young will discuss with you a return to work plan, often starting with light duties.

We want to help you resume your usual activities so you can get back to doing what you love. Dr Scott-Young will advise when you can resume your usual sporting and recreational activities. Often return to more demanding sports/activities is graduated and with the assistance of your physiotherapist.