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Lumbar Back Surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello Spine-Health Community,

Since the governments investigations into the unethical practices of device companies and doctors, a number of names have been disclosed. Although, the disclosure helps us determine which doctors and devices we may want to avoid, it doesn't help us find experienced, compassionate doctors determined to scientifically and artfully diagnose and treat our back conditions using the best available technology to achieve maximum functionality, as suggested by blogs on this site. I hold the belief such experienced, ethical spine doctors do exist in the US, but how do we find these "good" doctors? I'm looking !!!



  • Tino,

    I found my surgeon through a series of doctor referrals. On top of that, two nurses at a local Red Cross office said he is very good. One of the nurses added that he is the doctor that other doctors in the area go to see when they have back problems.

    I was most appreciative to the Red Cross nurses because I did not even ask for their opinion – they just willingly told me. I think Red Cross is a good place to get recommendations because they are less likely to be biased.
  • Wait a second -- if I am understanding your implication about manufacturers and doctors, I would disagree with your premise. First, all major university medical schools are supported and funded by the drug companies and manufacturers of various products used in surgeries, etc. Otherwise there would be little to no funding for research. At this point in our history, you cannot separate the medical training any doctor receives from the source of the funding. They are too closely intertwined.

    Second, some of the top spinal specialists in the country are on the payroll of the major companies that develop new technologies for spinal surgery. Who do you think it is that helps develop these new products and procedures that many of us benefit from?

    I think the media coverage of this topic was really overly sensationalized and did not provide balanced information. In something as specialized as spinal surgery, there are only a handful of ways to do a particular procedure...and there are only a few companies that have invented the materials that make that procedure possible...or a single company develops a particular way of doing a procedure, and the supporting "hardware" that makes the procedure possible. All these things are patented. A hospital cannot go to a hospital supply store and pick out cages from 10 suppliers and give the doctor a choice of what to use. It just does not work that way.

    A spinal surgeon has to continually update his education to keep a breast of any new developments in the field. In order to do this, he attends training sessions provided by the company who manufactures the product/system.

    No doctor would know how to use a pedicle screw, or a cage, for example, if it were not for the training sponsored by the companies that make the product. This is not to say that the surgeon cannot attend a number of these seminars...and then choose which products he wants to use -- but he will receive his training from a doctor who is paid to conduct this training session...and it may be a doctor who runs the Spinal Clinic at your state university...and who is one of the top rated surgeons in your state.

    You could be missing out on a really terrific spinal specialist who is experienced, compassionate, and technically superior if you limit yourself to those that meet your standards.
  • gwennie,

    Yes, you did miss my premise: finding an experienced, compassionate doctor determined to scientifically and
    artfully diagnose and treat using the best technology available to achieve maximum function.

    The Senates' investigation was not overly sensationalized: it led to the passage of the Sunshine Act of 2008. You obviously didn't read the Senates' report. Not all device/pharmaceutical companies, doctors, hospitals were named.

    I'm all for research and developement of new technology. But it's wrong when clinical trials and actual procedures are skewed and failed outcomes are swept under the rug for the perceived success of a device/drug made by a company, developed by doctors, and/or used at hospitals. It would be different if the company, hospitals, or doctors would acknowledge and address issues/complications that may present themselves in discovering better technologies. It's called "back to the drawing board" to develope a new plan, or make a few changes.

    And now back to my premise, applying your explanation: A new procedure, device, drug, pedical screw is used at a hospital by a doctor trained in it's use by the company that makes the product. I'll even take away the "known to fail". And unfortunately, the procedure, device, drug, pedical screw does fail. Here's the line that seperates experienced, compassionate doctors determined to scientifically and artfully diagnose and treat conditions to achieve maximum function from others, whose interest in the perceived success of a device/drug superceeds their interest in the success of the patients outcomes.

  • Thanks for the idea Mark. I never would of considered that option.

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