How Do You Use Storytellers to Help Ease Patient Fears of Surgery?

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We created a program for a company in town called NuVasive. NuVasive is a spine surgery company. They were the first company to look at spine surgery, and say, it 's not as good as it can be. If I asked you what surgery would you least like to have, I would argue, spine surgery is probably the top, certainly it's up top three, and it's because we haven't had great outcomes.

It's a massive incision on the front or the back of a person's body, there's a lot of collateral damage, blood loss, and the result is often trading one pain for the next. Well, these guys said, that's not good enough, and they created a lateral approach to spine surgery, a little small incision through the psoas muscle.

It gives full access to the spine, they can fuse two or three levels, and often times the patient walks out of the hospital the day after surgery, and that's a game changing kind of a technology. It's sort of akin too, in the early days of my football career if you tore your knee you had a huge open incision and you were done for the season.

Now if you tore meniscus, you have an arthroscopy, and your back planning in 4 weeks. Well, because somebody said there's a better way than slicing on it, same with the back. So we created a program for them their big challenge was, how do you train physicians. They had a great solution for that, they built a surgical theater in their headquarters, they invited 6 to 10 surgeons a week and they train and surgeon are like, oh my gosh, this is huge! There has been a slow adoption now, there have been over 100 thousand they call XLIF surgery, now how do get that message out? If the company shares that message, it's self serving.

If the doctor shares that story you feel like he's just trying me to have surgery. So we created the program called The Better Way Back. Was like launching that boulder off the mountain, the boulder was the program. We had barely launched it, when we found a mixed martial arts fighter, UFC fighter who'd had the degenerative disease, had surgery and returned to the ring, the octagon to fight again.

When we found Bill Walton in the Hall-of-Famer, was literally driving around San Diego looking for a bridge to jump off of, because his back pain was so severe, it debilitated him, it's just literally having to eat his meals on the floor, couldn't walk, couldn't ride his bike, couldn't sleep, couldn't do anything, wanted to give up, he ended up having the surgery, he's now an evangelic.

He's 7 ft tall, watching the room, arms spread and feels, I'm the luckiest guy in the world and he tells the story of how this surgery has given him his life back. So story tellers are incredibly powerful if you use the right way.