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How weird would this be?

Sweetrobs2SSweetrobs2 Posts: 48
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Is it weird to get another opinion from an NS in the same practice as the one who is scheduled to perform the surgery? I have had 3 opininons already from 3 different facilities so I know it isn't typical. Here is my story:

I am scheduled for surgery Oct 7th - Anterior Spinal Corpidectomy with Fusion and Postierior Laminectomy with Instrumentation. It was the third opinion and all 3 had very similar opinions. The only difference being 2 of them would do one surgery now and then the second one in the near future. The one I am scheduled with feels it is a huge risk to do two separate surgeries when it is inevitable I will need a second or third one. He wants to take care of it all at one time and I agree.

I have a sister-in-law who is a surgical nurse in the cardiovascular department of the hospital where I am scheduled to have the surgery. She told me she has not heard any bad things about my NS, but would recommend seeing one that specializes in only spine surgery. My NS specializes in many types of neurosurgery, including brain surgery. She said she will do some investigating and get back to me.

I got her call and she spoke to the director of surgery that said the biggest thing is my NS has the reputation of not performing the entire surgery. He often will leave and has his assistant take over. I was told when I first scheduled the surgery that my NS will leave the operating room to speak to my family only when the surgery is done and I am ready to be closed. She said the most important thing to have guaranteed is that he performs the entire procedures. She then gave me the name of another NS in the same practice to call to get another opinion from. Hence, my question how weird would this be?

I am going to call the 2nd opinion program at the hospital who are the ones that introduced me to the current NS. But I would like your opinions as to whether it's a good idea to talk to this other NS or just talk to my current NS about his performing all of the surgery and not pass it on. My husband says it's enough already and if I am confident in my NS just to go with it and not get yet another opinion.

Thanks for listening!


  • This is a strange situation. My opinion, and my opinion only, is that I'd much rather have a surgeon who's a fellowship-trained spine surgeon and ONLY does surgeries on the spine.

    With that being said, I'm sure you can guess that if it were me, I'd see that other surgeon. It just seems to me that you're lucky enough to have some inside scoop here - how else would you have learned that your planned NS leaves the operating room early?

    Yes, it might be weird, but I believe things happen for a reason and maybe this is one of those things.

    Please remember that it's only my opinion, for what it's worth.

    Take care and let us know how it goes.
  • This is only my opinion, but if you have 3 opinions that are very similar, I think that is probably adequate. However, it never hurts to get another.

    I would definitely have a talk with the NS about making sure he does the work and not turning it over to someone else. This is the problem I have with teaching hospitals. Even if you get a great doctor doing the surgery, there is a high chance a resident will be working on your spine with the doctor's supervision. That was not really relevant here though, just throwing out an opinion.

    But do talk with your doctor and make sure he will complete the surgery.

    Also, I think having a NS who also does brain surgery is a benefit. These brain surgeons are trained to do very intricate work; who better to be working around your spinal cord and the nerves around it.

    Good luck with the surgery. It does sound like a big surgery and it won't be fun! I'll be here during your recovery if you need support. Just PM me with any questions.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I guess the question I would have is what do they mean leaves the OR, before surgery is over. There are a lot of surgeons who use their assistants to close the surgical site itself. On my first 3 surgeries, I had two surgeons in the surgeries themselves. On the first 2, by the notes once the bone was taken from the hip one of the surgeons had left the OR. By that time most of the surgery was done. I should say anything that could have caused a problem.

    In one of my surgeries it was a ortho(fellowship trained in spines), and a NS who specializes in other areas as well. The NS was called in by the ortho as we were dangerously close to the cord from a bad case of psuedo. The ortho didn't feel quite comfortable with what had happened and could happen. You can't imagine the amount of respect I have for the Ortho in cases like that.

    If I were you I would talk it over with the NS, as you said you feel comfortable with him/her. You having confidence in your surgeons abilities is so important. I just want you to know it is not uncommon for them to have others in the OR, and to do the closings. I suppose if it makes you feel better, you could go speak with the other NS in the same practice, however you may not match with that surgeon and realize you have made the best choice for you as a person. Whatever you decide just make sure you are confident in the abilities of the person you are using. Here is another thought, you could possible ask to speak to some of his past patients, or maybe speak to a nurse who works directly with him/her. Just some ideas. Whichever way you choose we will be here to support your decision and help as much as possible in the recovery. Keep us posted on what you do. Take care.
  • Hey Everyone!
    Thanks for your opinions! I am still not sure what to do and will be getting a call from my NS in a couple of hours to discuss this and a few other questions I have. I do know that my NS doesn't close because he leaves as soon as he can to speak with the patient's family which is a good thing. I am going to ask for patient references too. This is a tough one because I do let the fright of it all get in the way of my decisions and this is so BIG!!

    I will send an update!
    Thanks again! I am so glad I have support from all of you!
  • HI Robin

    Why not ask the surgeon you are scheduled with? Tell him you did some checking and someone said he leaves in the middle of surgery and you want clarification from him.

    If he has a good reason for leaving he won't mind telling you. If he doesn't have a good reason he will make excuses or get mad. That's when you need to change doctors.

    If you can't trust him to talk to you now why do you want him in your body??

    Good Luck
  • Hi all -
    I am not getting a 4th opinion!

    I had my pre-op physical, chest x-ray, blood tests, urine sample, EKG. My PCD spoke very highly of the NS that is doing the surgery which helped me to feel better. Also, her nurse said her dad had the same NS remove a cyst from his spine last year and he was just great! (the NS)

    I then spoke with the NS regarding leaving the operating room. The only time he will leave is when it is time to close the anterior incision, then they have to "take down" from the first surgery, set up for the 2nd surgery, flip me over and start the cutting of the posterior incision. He guaranteed that he does all of the intricate work, drilling, removing bone spurs, placing instrumentation, etc. I am confident that what I was told is true. There have been many people I have been in contact with both in and out of the health care industry who had only praise for this NS. I have not heard anything negative.

    I think I was thrown for a loop when my sis-in-law, a surgical nurse at the hospital where I am having the surgery, didn't say "Yes he is great!!" I know she is concerned for my well being and wants to be sure I am doing the right thing.

    So full speed ahead! I have started shopping for things I will need post-op based on the wonderful list on this site.
    Thanks so much for you opinions and support and I hope we stay in touch until my surgery and especially after!!

    Your friend,
  • Yay. I'm glad you talked with the NS, as well as others that can recommend him. It's so, so important to have confidence in your surgeon and I'm glad you have that now.

    Good luck on your surgery, but I'm sure we'll see you before then.

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