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Intimidated by Neurosurgeon ??

grandmesamomggrandmesamom Posts: 181
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am totally intimidated by my NS. He seems generally irritated that i continue to have complaints 6 months after my 2nd ACDF in 20 months. My biggest complaint is ongoing Left arm pain and weakness after a cord compression and myelopathy. He told me that I am too impatient and these things take time.He says that life stressors are getting in the way of me getting better!!!
Who wouldn't be stressed with severe arm weakness? I have an appt tomorrow and I become tongue tied when I see him. My new MRI shows more bulges with narrowing of the neural foramen( He told me it would be normal). My intuition has been 100% correct when I feel there is something wrong. I don't even know if I am fused yet and he couldn't answer that question 2 weeks ago either.
What do you think ? Should I hang in there or pursue another MD? I am confused!



  • I would suggest writing down your questions, so you don't forget what you want to ask "God". Such as could the bulges and narrowing be the cause of your symptoms. Has he done an x-ray to see if you are healing? If he has done that, he should know if you are fusing. Insist on an answer, yes or no. If it's been 6 months you should be almost totally fused. If he won't answer you, I would be considering a new dr IMHO. You are paying him for his help and answers. Just saying life stressors are getting in the way of you getting better is a cop out. Almost everyone is stressed nowdays, but they still heal from surgery. Good luck, and please let us know what he has to say. Oh, and can you take someone with you? Preferrably a 250lb sumo wrestler? =))

  • I fully agree with maggie about taking someone else with you,he may not be so arrogant either if you had another person in the room.Did you have bulges there before the surgery,it just sounds strange to me that you would have more bulging when you just had surgery done not that long ago unless he did something during the surgery that caused it.Everyone who has had surgery knows how little you can actually do the first few months after especially to cause more bulging.Perhaps they just didn't show up on the last mri.About the fusing i just had my one year check up and i asked the same question was i fully fused ,got a non specific answer.Yes i have three levels to fuse but how hard is it to say yes or no right! he told me that it can take up to two years for everything to remold.Sounds like a long time but i guess everyones healing time is different some people heal quickly others slow.Good luck at your next apt.Don't be intimidated by him,he's just a man and you have the right to your questions being answered.
  • I feel the same way when I talk to my NS. He is as nice as can be but I get really intimidated and forget everything when I go to see him.

    And when I had my ACDF, they said they only saw the discs buging at 5&6 and then when he got in there for the sugery he said he found a pretty massive bone spur, which was not seen on any of my mri's or x-rays. Then when I went for my first check up and got my x-ray there are several more bone spurs on 3&4, which once again were not seen on any other x-rays/mri's. And I am only about 8.5 weeks out and the secretary at my docs office seems throughly irritated with me when I call and it has only been the last few weeks I have really called complaining about the pain....

    Can bone spurs be what is still causing me pain? I heard you can have bone spurs and they never bother you, most people dont even know they have them.... Now I am freaking out thinking this is why I am still in pain and may be until they are removed.
  • I think if he continues to be obstinate and skirt around your questions, maybe you should find someone else. I understand that you may not want to start over again with another surgeon since this one knows your situation well, but if you're nervous to talk to him, this won't help you in the long run. I had a surgeon who was nice, but I felt that I was being pop quizzed all the time, or other times it felt like I was waiting to see the principal. Not the best relationship to be in. Anyway, with my NS I feel at ease and he is very easy to talk to and he answers difficult questions. He's been upfront when it comes to probable outcomes, and I know that he is being straight with me and therefore I trust him a lot. Well, let us know how it goes and hopefully you can communicate better with your doctor. Take care
  • I had to see the NS by myself. My husband couldn't get off work. I had myself all prepared and wrote down questions.
    I waited 2 hours before I saw him and I got 3 minutes of his time!!!!! He walked in and said my MRI was perfectly normal. I asked him about the report and he got real aggitated and said that Radiologists don't know how to read MRI's and this interpetation was RIDICULOUS(he kept repeating that word).He said everyone has bulges in their neck and it's no big deal.I told him they were not there before and he said " Well you got them now" He said neural foramin narrowing caused by the discs are nothing.I asked him if I was fused and he wouldn't say Yes but that it was starting to. He jumped out of the chair and said see me in 6 months!!!! At a previous visit he was not happy that I continued to complain about the myelopathy symptoms and he said, " I fixed your probem,your cord is not compressed anymore." " You are too impatient with this" So what do I do? I guess I need to resign to the fact I will never be the same.
  • It's time to find somebody else and move on. He's apparently done with you, based on his actions and doesn't intend on further investigating your symptoms. It will do you no good to stick with this NS.
  • I, too had almost the same exact 3 month visit with my NS, my son was there, and he(son) actually said (not to NS face) that he was an A$$, so you are not alone. Mine won't even send me for any tests, so I finally contacted a nurses hotline, told them all my symptoms, and she told me I need to get to someone that will run tests asap. You need to change surgeons, before the bulge becomes a bigger problem. Start back at square one with your primary, get a new referral.

    Good luck
  • Thanks, I think I will go to another Dr for a second opinion. What is it with these neurosurgeons? My PCP told me that they are generally by nature defensive because they have a high litigation rate. I am seeking help by an ortho spine specialist. I had a spinal fusion a L4 and 5 10 years ago and never had a problem. Bethy
  • I agree with everyone else, you need another opinion. Regardless of their high litigation rate, if you feel something is wrong or are still in pain you should have it checked out. You know your body better than anyone else and if there is something wrong, there is something wrong. And i dont know that there is anything that will ever be normal after this type of procedure but it sounds like this guys may just be arrogant and does not like someone questioning his opinion.

    I know I said I am intimidated by mine but that is me, not the doc. I am intimidated by any doctor for some reason, its is just my nature. You need to see someone you are comfortable talking to or you will not get anywhere.

    Let us know how it goes.
  • My neurosurgeon spent 45mins. with me a year and half post-op. He racked his brain, dictated his comments on recorder, was really concerned but did not regret surgery..said it had to be done. Although, I've had a long term doc in Physical Medicine and Rehab. since surgery. He is great. Then, last summer I added my pain doc - all within the same good hospital. I have demanded some relief and therefore I get tests, implants, injections, new meds, etc. I hope you can find a good ns that wants to get to the bottom of your issues. Stay positive and keep posting your thoughts and issues. There are good doc's out there.

    7/01-ruptured c6-7
    1/07- acdf c4-5, c5-6 and spurs removed
    c3-4 and c6-7 are bulging more and more
    migranes, pain since 2002 at base of skull that radiates up head and down to shoulders. Deep pain in neck that is debilitating. arm numbess and weakness pre-op - went away 75% post-op 6 mos. Spasms in trapezious muscles.
    Tennis elbow in both arms. got one repaired 3/09 - 4-5 mts. recovery cuz torn. Putting of other elbow til next year.
    1/09 got neurostimulator leads in skull and in neck tissue- helping with occipital migranes somewhat but not touching deep pain in neck.
    Meds: hbp, buspar, cymbalta, norco 10/325, valium, flexeril, lexapro, celebrex, magnesium, os-cal.
  • I agree that you should seek out another neurosurgeon.

    I had a very bad experience at my neurosurgeon's office last week. While I was waiting in the inner office, I heard a male voice very loudly say, "get her out of here, I don't care what she's here for, just get her out of here and tell her to never come back".

    I don't know who it was that was saying this very loudly, since there are more than one neurosurgeon in this complex, but it sure did scare me. My thoughts were, could he be talking about me?

    He came in to see me, seemed in a good mood, did his exam, ordered an MRI, and nerve conduction tests.

    Most important of all, HE IGNORED THE FACT THAT I TOLD HIM THAT THE DARVOCET 1 EVERY 12 HOURS WAS NOT EFFECTIVE IN RELIEVING MY PAIN. So, I left the office with no medication.

    I am seriously considering another neurosurgeon.

    I am an R.N. in the home health field and advocate for my patients on a daily basis and now I am advocating for myself, without any success. I plan to file a complaint with the state medical board.

    By the way, in case you did not know this, you can file a complaint for something as simple as "bad bedside manner".

    I've been to 2 internal med docs, an orthopedist, and now the neurosurgeon for a problem that has persisted for 2-1/2+ months, affecting my ability to work and am on the verge of losing my job.

    I hope you get the help you deserve. In medicine as in many other fields, "the squeeky wheel gets the grease"!

    Isabelle, R.N.
  • Thank you Isabelle and everyone else for your ideas. This has been such a long journey from one year ago to even get treatment.I was a victim(LOL) of HMO insurance.
    I don't even know where to start to look for a new Dr. I don't know if I should go to an ortho spine or a NS. Every hospital has these DRs but how do you know if they are any good?
    I had a herniated disc with cord compression and myelopathy. This Dr has never told me that myelopathy is permanent or this is the best you will get in regards to weakness. I might be able to accept this better if the dr told me this is as good as it gets so deal with it.
    I am really confused and am thinking about waiting 6 months to see where I am.
    I just don't want to wait too long and cause more damage.What if i pick a new Dr and find he is an idiot also? i just don't know anyone with cervival issues that have had surgery before.

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