Frequently Asked Questions

Nerve Firing

Where can I find parking?

St Leonards: There is plenty of parking near North Shore Private Hospital. The closest car park is the Wilson car park, which can be accessed via the south end of Reserve Road. Our rooms are located on the ground floor of the Private Hospital.

Erina: Enter the back entrance of The Element Building via Karalta Lane (red and grey building). Travel up one flight of stairs (they label the ground floor as Level 1).

Dee Why: The building is located on the corner of Pittwater Road and Sturdee Parade. Turn into Sturdee Parade and there is a car park on the left (Coles/Aldi). Turn into the car park and go down to level 2, the light blue floor. Once on P2, there is a lift in the far left hand corner to the commercial building. Take the lift up to the first floor.

Will you process my Medicare rebate?

Yes. For consults we will process your rebate on receipt of payment. The remittance will be sent straight to your bank account. For surgery we will process your Medicare rebate after your operation is completed. Once you have received the remittance from Medicare after surgery, you can take it to your health fund to receive the remainder of the rebate.

Are my medical records kept private and confidential?

Yes. Your medical file is handled with the utmost respect for your privacy. Dr Biggs and his staff abide strictly by the Privacy Act 1988. We will not release the contents of you medical file without your consent, unless required by law.

What are your acceptable means of payment?

Bank cheque, personal cheque, cash, credit cards and EFTPOS. We accept AMEX however a 2% surcharge will apply.

What should I bring with me to my consult?

Please email or fax your referral to us before your appointment if possible. Please bring the referral to your consult if you are unable to do this. Please also bring your private health fund card, Medicare card, pension card (if applicable) and any results from tests or procedures, particularly CT or MRI scans.

Does Dr Biggs have urgent appointments available?

Yes. Please contact our staff on 02 8320 0577 and advise them of your situation.

Does Dr Biggs accept Work Cover patients?

Yes. We require approval from the employer/insurer prior to the appointment.

Does Dr Biggs operate in the public system?

Dr Biggs no longer operates in the public system. He stepped down a few years ago after 21 years as a consultant to make way for newly trained surgeons. Dr Biggs is happy to see uninsured patients in a consultation however, they will need to self-fund if you have surgery with Dr Biggs.

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth is the use of telecommunication techniques for the purpose of providing telemedicine, medical education, and health education over a distance. Video-conferencing is one of the main ways in which telehealth is improving access to healthcare services for patients who live in regional, rural and remote areas. Please contact our rooms on 02 8320 0577 if you would like to discuss Dr Biggs’ telehealth services.

When will I go into hospital for my operation?

Most patients are admitted on the day of surgery. Some patients may be admitted the day prior to surgery. The hospital will inform you of the exact time of your admission and when to stop eating and drinking via telephone the day before admission.

When will I be seen for a post-op consult?

Post-ops consultations are usually scheduled for 6 weeks after surgery. There will be no fee for the consult. Please contact our rooms on 02 8320 0577 to arrange the appointment. Telehealth consultations may be available for patients living in regional, rural or remote areas.

How long will I be in hospital following my surgery?

The amount of time you will remain in hospital depends on the complexity of the surgery, the requirement for pain relief, and your personal circumstances. Most nerve procedures are admitted as day patients or overnight. Patients undergoing minimally invasive/keyhole spine surgery, generally go home 1-2 days after the operation. Exceptions would be some elderly patients, or patients with severe symptoms or neurological signs, who may remain in hospital for three to five days, or indeed may need referral to a rehabilitation Centre.

Patients undergoing spine fusion operations may be in hospital for one week.

How long should the wound remain covered after surgery?

A clean dry dressing should cover the surgical site for up to seven days depending on the operation. Some wounds are covered with a waterproof glue that gradually falls off over some weeks. Dressings should be changed if they get wet or are blood stained.

How soon can I drive after surgery?

Depending on your operation driving should be avoided for a period of time. After spinal surgery it is generally advised not to drive for two weeks, or until comfortable at the wheel. Driving after brain surgery needs to be discussed with Dr Biggs, as some surgeries have a risk of epileptic seizures.

What happens after the surgery?

All patients are usually seen for post-operative consultation six weeks after surgery. Some patients are required to have x-rays or scans prior to this appointment depending on the type of surgery they have undergone.

What if I develop a clot in the leg (Deep Vein Thrombosis)?

Early mobilisation after surgery is important as patients who remain immobile for a prolonged period are at increased risk of developing a DVT. Physiotherapists or nursing staff usually aid patients to mobilise in the first few days after your procedure.

For patients with a previous history of venous thrombosis or with genetic predispositions to DVT – such as Factor Five Leiden – active prophylaxis against DVTs using calf compressors, anti-thrombotic stockings and low molecular weight heparin may be used to minimise the chance of developing clots.

For patients who are not fully mobile, surveillance Doppler ultrasound scans of the lower legs are used as part of post-operative treatment to ensure early detection of any clot formation. If a clot does develop, it may be monitored if it is small, or it may be treated with anticoagulants such as Clexane or Warfarin.

Can I exercise in the first six weeks?

Walking is encouraged post operatively. This can be slowly increased on a daily basis as tolerated.

Swimming should not be done for at least 3 weeks to allow the wound to fully heal, and longer after brain surgery. Running, cycling, and weight training should be avoided until discussed with Dr Biggs at the 6 week follow up.

Will there be any pain post operatively?

Discomfort around the surgical site is normal after surgery. This for the most part can be adequately controlled with simple analgesics such as Panadol or Panadeine. On occasions stronger analgesia may be required such as Endone or Targin, or anti nerve pain medication such as Lyrica or Neurontin. The length and persistence of local discomfort depends on the type and site of surgery.

What sort of anaesthetic will I have at the time of surgery?

Nearly all neurosurgical procedures are performed under a general anaesthetic. Peripheral nerve surgery can be performed on the rare occasion with sedation and local anaesthetic.

Do I still take my normal medications?

It is important to advise both the hospital and Dr Biggs about your current medication particularly if you are taking blood thinning medication (eg Aspirin, Astrix, Cartia, Plavix, Nurofen, Iscover, Warfarin, Coumadin, any anti-inflammatories, Fish Oil, Tumeric, Gingko etc). To avoid excessive bleeding during surgery these medications will usually have to be ceased up to one week prior to surgery.

If you are uncertain about any of your medications or when to cease taking them please contact our office immediately. Other regular medication can be taken as usual on the morning of your procedure with a small sip of water, despite fasting.

Near-by Accommodation

The Urban Hotel and the Greenwich Inn are within walking distance to Dr Biggs’ consulting rooms on the ground floor of the North Shore Private Hospital: . A special discount is given to hospital related bookings with the hotels. Alternate nearby accommodation is listed on the NSPH website. Click here to access.

Pre-Admission Clinic

Dr Biggs may require you to attend a Pre-Admission Clinic at your admitting hospital. Pre-admission clinic is particularly helpful for patients with multifaceted medical or social histories and may require multi-disciplinary medical pre-op or post-op care.