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Will the confusion never end?

lstellerllsteller Posts: 1,428
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Okay, I had two surgeons tell me I needed a 3-level fusion, but they wouldn't recommend it, and they wouldn't do it, so they just sent me for a spinal cord stimulator that I didn't want, so I went to see another surgeon. He told me that my spine would not fuse together well naturally, and that he could help me and do the fusion, but first he wanted some X-rays and an MRI of the rest of my spine to be sure it could handle the load. I went back to see him on Tuesday. He brings up the new MRI and X-rays, says he can't find my CT scan (which I had brought with me to the first visit), and then says, "the rest of you spine looks pretty good, so I guess we should do nothing." WHAT??? WTH?? WTF??? 8} Because the rest of my spine is okay, that means the bottom of it isn't suddenly going to fuse into a mess on its own? I don't understand. Then he says, well, if it's really bothering me, he'll fuse the upper two discs, but we probably ought to leave the bottom one (the worst of all of them) alone. I have no idea what the heck to do. I do not want to live in this kind of pain, but I don't want to have surgery with someone who changes his mind about what ought to be done on a whim. I am so confused. I have no idea what is going on.

3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.


  • Linda,

    With all due respect, what your doc says does not make my sense to me. What kind of a doctor is he, OS or NS, and specifically, is he a board certified spinal specialist? Sounds like you are having some real pain that may or may not be treated by surgery, but in any case, you need a more comprehensible answer. If you have any problem understanding what he is trying to say, especially if he uses a lot of medical terminology, ask him to explain them to you in laymen's terms. It would be even better if you could take somebody else with you, four ears are better than two. In any case, if it is possible, the best thing would be to get a second opinion from somebody really qualifies in treating spinal issues.

    Good luck!

  • Ditto to what Kinpain says!! DOUBLE that! Holy cow, what is up? I wish I was a dr. and could actually help cut through some of that confusion for ya -

    good luck
  • Well, what can you do but get a fourth opinion. Have these docs been spine specialists? There are many OS and NS who aren't spine specialists. Can you go to a University hospital possible that has a spine program? You really need to feel comfortable and confident with your surgeon. So obviously that one is not going to work out. I know there is some school of thought that you should never fuse more than 2 levels and being L5-S1 get less movement than the two above perhaps is why he said only those 2. You will see here on SH many have had a 3 level fusion. I think you just have to find the right surgeon who is willing to do it. Where are you located? We cannot post MD names but perhaps some could make recommendations via PM if we know where you are. Goodluck to you, I hope you get some answers soon, Sue
  • Yes I too agree that you need to get a 4th opinion and from a specalist spine surgeon. ALso as Cali-Sue said you need to feel comfortable with the surgeon and able to ask all thise questions we so want answered.

    Lets pray that 4th is the charm.

    Blessings Sara O:)
  • I agree - you need to start again.

    you the pateint needs to understand the surgeon rationale for doing or not doing what they decide. it will make a huge difference to your mental ability to cope as the treatemnts path takes place.

    Fusions are serious stuff, you need a specialist doc.
    good luck
  • this is a spine specialist at the state's University hospital. He is supposed to be an excellent surgeon. His office called me yesterday, by the way, to schedule my THREE-level fusion :O . So, I explained to the scheduling gal what was going on and said that based on the last appointment I had, I couldn't go forward with the surgery. She offered to get my message to the surgeon. I guess he doesn't read his message board very often, so I sent a detailed message, along with me questions to her, and she will forward them on to him. I do understand all (or almost all) of the medical terminology. I guess I just get so tongue-tied when I get a shock like that, I don't speak up as I should. Hopefully, he can answer my questions and we can go from there. If I don't get good answers, I'll be on to my fifth opinion. The first one wanted to do a fusion -- I should have listened.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Isteller, I hope you can get your questions answered. Perhaps another face to face meeting is in order. I keep a notebook and write down all the questions I think of to bring to my appointments. Maybe this guy was just having a bad day or something. Or, maybe he is one of those doctors that thinks out loud and kinda talks it out as he goes. I hope you find a solution you are comfortable with. >:D< Sue
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