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NS says he does "about 50" ACDF surgeries every year

CMCCM Posts: 100
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a failed laminectomy. The NS who did the laminectomy told me I now need a fusion, but he doesn't do them, so he referred me to another NS. When I met with the other NS I asked him how many ACDF surgeries he has performed. He said he does "about 50" a year, and he said so far he has never had any major complications, "knock on wood". But then he volunteered this comment: "I don't do as many as Dr. ___". (Dr. "___" is his partner.) So, I'm sitting there thinking, maybe I should see Dr. ___ instead. Well, it turned out I would have had to wait two months just to get an appointment to see Dr. ___, and I can't wait that long. So now I am wondering if 50 ACDF surgeries a year is a good number or not. Should I see a doctor who performs more ACDF surgeries? I am assuming that the more experience a doctor has doing ACDFs the more skilled he will be, and the higher the probability of a good outcome, but I don't know if that is necessarily true. I am confused and anxious about this. I have already had one failed surgery. I don't want another one. I wish there was some clear way to decide which surgeons are "the best". If one surgeon does 50 ACDFs a year, and another surgeon does 100 ACDFs per year, should I go to the one who does 100? The surgery is already scheduled for next week, but I made an appointment to see an orthopedic surgeon later this week. I'm obsessive enough as it is. This is just nerve-wracking.


  • Have you checked into the doctors background...from this site you can also check into your state's records:
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    There are many factors that should always be considered when you have surgery. No question, the actual surgeon is the most important, but do not rely on online data bases to give you all the information. I have checked these databases against surgeons I know of and they are not even listed.

    When you go in for surgery, you want to have the total package. That includes:
    - The Hospital Itself
    - The Nursing Staff
    - The Other physicians who will be seeing you
    - You the patient

    Most spinal surgeries have become almost routine that we've come to expect to have quality work done. The other factors can play a major role. There are a number of failed spinal surgeries that are not a result of the actual surgery, but because of what the patient did after surgery.

    It is very important to have trust and confidence in the doctor that is going to do the surgery and that you also have trust and confidence in where it is being done
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I have to agree with Ron, trust and confidence in your surgeon is a very important thing. If I didn't have a good feeling about my Doctor, I am not too sure that I would let him/her do my surgery. It may not hurt to see ths OS you have schedualed, perhaps you may have a better feel for this Doctor. Again good luck with your surgery.



    2 level ACDF c5-c6, c6-c7, November 2007...cervical stenosis with myelopathy....Removal of hardware and another 2 level ACDF c3-c4, c4-c5 and posterior cervical laminectomy at c5,c6,c7 in March 2008 to help stop the progression of myelopathy..was moving right along..looks like stenosis and such has moved itself to c3 and c4...2 level laminectomy at c3 and 4 near the end of March. Thought it was a light at the end of the tunnel, maybe it's the train.....lol I am not a medical professional and my opinion is just from my experience.
  • I agree with PapaRon. When it came time to meet with surgeons to talk about my surgery, the first one I met was the one I chose (no second or third opinion). I had 100% confidence in him right away because I read his bonafidees and knew someone who had this surgeon repair a previous failed ACDF.

    You MUST be confident in your choice of surgeon.

    Just my 2 cents. Good luck.
  • Thank you all for your responses. I guess I basically do not have confidence in the surgeon who is scheduled to perform the surgery. I sure hope the one I see Thursday inspires more confidence.
  • Then definitely keep your appointment. I know I was in the right place when my doctor spent more time with me than most doctors do with patients. Explained my surgery until I completely understood it. Gave me time to think about questions I might have and then sat there and waited until my head cleared enough to ask. I wish you the best with your surgery.
  • I agree you need trust in your surgeon but sometimes the best surgeons have the worst people skills. My NS was not good with people and I knew that going in. He spent 10 minutes with me and I needed a 4 level lumbar fusion L3-S1. I had heard about his bedside manner but could have cared less since I had also heard he was the best surgeon in town. I am 6 years post surgery now and feel fabulous most of the time. (you will not ever feel like before but now you can manage the bad days).

    Trust your instincts and check for lawsuits and talk to people but don't put all your faith in bedside manner. I also had foot surgery with the nicest kindest orthopedic doctor in the world who also happened to be the worst surgeon in the world.

    Good luck.
  • The best info I got was from other doctors. I asked my PCP outright, "if it was somebody close to you or if you would need that surgery, would you have this Dr. to do it? She told me, "go with him, he is very good. Than I asked friends to ask their doctors about their opinion. I heard back from three friends, who all had very good things to say about him. Even the cardiologist said during my pre-op visit, "I don't know if you know it but you selected an excellent surgeon". And I couldn't have been happier with my surgery. So ask around, and don't forget to ask nurses too, sometimes they are more open.

    Good luck,

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