Frequently Asked Questions

Do you make appointments over the phone?
We are happy to take enquires over the phone but we will also ask that you send us your GP or Specialist Referral. We can then determine the urgency of your problem and decide if any extra tests or scans will be needed before your appointment.
How long does it take to get an appointment?
Your waiting time will depend on the urgency of your condition and whether any extra tests or scans are needed. Patients with urgent conditions will be seen quickly, and the general wait time is rarely more than a few weeks.
Why do you need an MRI prior to seeing me?
An MRI scan is usually the best scan to make decisions about whether surgery is required and the exact type of surgery that would be best. Doing an MRI prior to your appointment usually avoids coming in for an extra appointment.
Must I come to the appointment in person or can it be done over the phone?
Almost all new patients need to be seen in person for a physical examination and face to face discussion. Follow-up appointments may be done via Video Telehealth. Please discuss this at your initial appointment.
Do you see patients covered by Workcover or TAC?
Parkville Neurosurgery does not see patients insured by Workcover or TAC, but a referral can be made to The Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Do you bulk bill?
Consulting fees must be paid in full on the day of your appointment. We accept cash, credit cards (except Amex). We can electronically submit to Medicare for your rebate. Bulk billing is not routine.
Does my Private Health Insurance cover my appointment fee?
No, unfortunately. Private insurance does not cover the cost of private specialist consultations. Nor does it cover radiology fees e.g. for MRI. These are partially rebateable by Medicare.
Do you see uninsured patients?
This is determined on a case by case basis, particularly considering the urgency of the condition, but uninsured referrals will be forwarded to The Royal Melbourne Hospital if requested.
Can I pay for my surgery myself?
It is possible to pay for your surgery in the private hospital and we can obtain a quote from the hospital for the total cost. Unfortunately, the total cost is usually over $25,000 for most types of neurosurgical operation. Please discuss with the office staff is you would like more information.
Where do I park?
There is very little parking near Parkville Neurosurgery and we recommend public transport whenever possible. There is limited parking on the streets around The Royal Melbourne Hospital and the RMH car park is often full. There is also a car park across Royal Parade underneath to the Kenneth Meyer Building or at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
Where is the Parkville Neurosurgery office?
We are in Suite 31 on Level 4 in the Melbourne Private Hospital building on Royal Parade. The address of this building is 1F Royal Parade Parkville. COVID screening will be done upon entry to the building and masks are required to be worn.

Surgery and post-operative questions:

Do you do keyhole or minimally invasive surgery (MIS)?
Yes, we use keyhole or MIS surgery when it is the most appropriate type of surgery for you.
When can I drive after my surgery?
After most brain surgeries you will not be able to drive for AT LEAST 3 to 6 months. For spinal surgery you will not be able to drive for 4 to 8 weeks, and you should discuss this with your surgeon.
What if I get my neck or back nerve pain again after surgery?
It is very common to have nerve or back pain in the 6 weeks after surgery. Even if the pressure has been removed from the nerves, they can still be sensitive. This almost always goes away and you should use the pain medications you have been prescribed.
How long do I take my pain medications after surgery?
You will be given enough pain medication for 5 days when you leave hospital. You need to schedule an appointment with your GP after the surgery to get more prescriptions. You should take pain medications to keep your pain at a minimum so you can go about your daily activities and breathe deeply and cough comfortably.
Will my surgeon be doing my surgery, or will it be done by a trainee?
Your Private Neurosurgeon will be doing your surgery. There will be one or more assistant surgeons, but they are only helping with your surgery.
What do I do with the dressing on my wound?
Each surgeon has their own types of dressing. You will be given specific written instructions on your discharge summary from the ward. You can call the Parkville Neurosurgery office if you have questions.
When can I start my blood thinning medication again?
Usually you can start within a few days or weeks but for some surgeries is may be much longer (such as surgery for bleeding in the brain). You should discuss this with your surgeon before you leave hospital.
When will my next appointment be after surgery?
You will see your surgeon in hospital before you leave. You will have another appointment about 6 weeks after surgery. This appointment is made when your surgery is booked, so check your admission letter for date and time.
What do I do after hours if I have an urgent issue?
During office hours you can call the Parkville Neurosurgery office on (03) 9348 2712 and discuss your concerns. In the event of an emergency you should call an ambulance or go to your nearest hospital Emergency Department.
When can I start physiotherapy?
Wait until your appointment 6 weeks after surgery before commencing physiotherapy or strenuous physical exercise. This allows your wound and muscles to heal. Gentle exercise will be recommended by the hospital physiotherapist before you go home. Walking is always allowed, up to your comfort level. Some patients will require early rehabilitation, which will be arranged for you by the ward staff, including transport from the hospital to the rehab centre.
When can I go back to work?
Every patient is different depending on the type of surgery and type of work. Please discuss this with your surgeon at your appointment and in hospital before you go home.
What can I do post spinal surgery?
A general principle is to avoid lifting more than 5kgs, sitting for more than 45 minutes, and repetitive twisting or bending. You can walk as much as you like and sit for multiple 45 minute intervals in a day as long as you get up and walk for 5 minutes in between.
How do I get home from Hospital?
You will need to be picked up by a friend or family member. Discharge time is 10am. You can recline back the passenger seat and stop every 45 minutes and have a walk around if you have a long trip home. Very few people are eligible for ambulance and patient transport home so please make your own arrangements to be picked up.
Do I need to cut or shave my hair prior to brain surgery?
No. Leave it to the surgeon to prepare your scalp for surgery in the operating theatre. Shaving can cause small cuts and nicks in the skin and dislodge bacteria out of the roots of the hair onto the skin. This can cause infection and may cause the surgery to be postponed.