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What would you do?

delta_dawn67ddelta_dawn67 Posts: 76
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
First of all, let me just say that I know none of you are Doctors and can give medical advice. But, in the year that I have been hanging out here I have seen alot of thoughtful and insightful opinions given. There are alot of great minds on this forum and I sure would appreciate anyone who is willing to give me their thoughts and opinions.
I am scheduled for a laminectomy and fusion next week (Aug 13th).
Initially my NS proposed to use a product called "Optimesh" with screws for the fusion. The recovery for this type of fusion is estimated at 3-6 months. The surgery is "minimally invasive", one night hospital stay, brace for 3 months, BLT restrictions for 3-6 months. After doing some research I discovered that Optimesh is a fairly new product. Only been around a couple of years, so it's too soon for any success stories. However, there are some really bad stories out there (google it) including paralasis and death. I'm sure there are many positive outcomes, but as we all say...the success stories often move on, they don't post their results on the internet! :-)
So I phoned my NS office and expressed my concerns to the Scheduler (apparently she is the only person who can relay questions between patient & doc when you are pre-surgery). She finally called me back today (9 days later) and said that Dr. x understands my concerns and has proposed a second option.
The second option is an "open surgery" using a Medtronic "Crescent graph" and screws. This recovery is estimated to be 6-18 months. Brace & BLT restrictions for 6 months. This method is more "traditional" I guess you'd say.
And I guess I should mention that my NS is one of the BEST. And very capable of either method.
So...the big question! WHAT IN THE HECK WOULD YOU DO??
Thank you to anyone who has taken the time to read this long post! And thank you again if you take the time to respond.



  • on the optimesh i would be aprehensive about having it done. just hearing the cries of those poor folks who had trouble i'd stay away. that's what i would do. i dont know the percentages but lets say for estimating purposes its one in 500...would you take that chance?
  • [quote=delta_dawn67 The second option is an "open surgery" using a Medtronic "Crescent graph" and screws. This recovery is estimated to be 6-18 months. Brace & BLT restrictions for 6 months. This method is more "traditional" I guess you'd say.

    The Optimesh system does not sound like a good idea given that your NS has not performed this yet--hate to be his first. Isn't the Crescent graph just the open arm CT they use to aid in placing the pedicle screws? Is this a one or two level fusion? I can only assume a two level fusion given that you will be in a brace? Personally I would go with whatever your NS has the most experience performing. No matter how good your NS is, I would think your odds of success would be greater if you are not tightening his learning curve.
  • Actually my NS has lots of experience with both procedures. He is known for being innovative I guess you'd say. And if you watch the procedure on you tube, he is the doctor performing the optimesh procedure. I have complete confidence in his abilities. I am just not sure that I am comfortable being the "1 in 500" or whatever number it is for the newer product. The only reason I'm tempted is the difference in recovery.
  • I would ask for the success rate of his patients only. That would give you a good read on what your chances are. I'm sure given that it's a new procedure he wouldn't mind if you asked for his own personal stats.

    Take care, and good luch with your decision!

  • also i know theres several trials going on....the company should have statistics on them...
  • call back and ask if they can have one of their successful patients call you and talk to you about the surgery. They probably won't willingly give names out, but if you give them permission to give a successful patient your phone number, they shouldn't have a problem with that. I had a three-level fusion that was supposed to be minimally invasive. I ended up with two surgeries and, as my PCP said, it looks like someone took a chainsaw to me (feels like it too!). Back surgery takes a long time to heal. If you can shorten the recovery by using something innovative, that's great, but only if the innovation is safe.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I'd ask him, "which procedure would you recommend for your wife or child?"
  • Jen what you said is exactly what we were thinking. To everyone who responded a big thank you. Pete your help and research has been outstanding! You will never know what it means to me!
    My hubby and I have decided to take the long (but hopefully safer) road and we are taking the more traditional route. We trust the surgeon completely but we don't trust the optimesh.

    Wish me luck! And I will try to keep you posted on my blackberry stupid phone.
  • a great doc...you have a good plan...now go for it and know we're behind you....
  • First thing is you must trust your surgeon before you agree to any operation. I would have the surgery that he suggests for you. Not everyone has the same outcomes and comparing your self to the next guy isnt possible because we are all different.
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
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