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Time from Decision to Surgery?

SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm pretty sure I'm headed for a L3-S1 posterior and anterior fusion. Final test is a discogram this Thursday and then an appointment with the surgeon on 12/01. I've been put on the cancellation list if he can see me anytime before then...but with the holidays who knows.

I would REALLY like to get the surgery done by 12/31 for insurance reasons. In general - once you and the surgeon decided on surgery how soon could they do it?
2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 


  • We can be surgery buddies. I think I may be headed that way, too, (same surgery) but I haven't decided if I am going to do it yet. I met with my surgeon yesterday and he was booking for the first week in December.

    I think it just depends on how busy your surgeon is. My husband assured me that no one would want to have surgery right before the holidays...but I think he forgot about insurance issues, etc.
  • I only had 5 days between decision and surgery. I think it really depends on the situation and the doctors schedule. My situation was bad, I'm sure that had something to do with how quick they got me in.
  • about a month and a half after I had my initial appointment with the surgeon, but I had my surgery at a major teaching hospital and they are extremely busy. Heck, what could be better than lying on your back, all sleepy and cozy and staring at holiday lights? I had my surgery right before Thanksgiving -- actually, I got out of the hospital on the day before Thanksgiving, so I spent the holidays recuperating last year. It is actually a really peaceful time of the year and with insurance issues, it's a great time to take care of things. Hopefully, you will do well and not have to suffer much during the festivities. You and Gwennie and I can be the three-level fusion holiday kids!!

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • My surgeon was ready for the next week but I had to take care of some things before I could have surgery, so I put it off another couple of weeks.
  • My surgery was booked after my MRI in mid May for 1st week of July. My OSS is the director of spine service as well as a professor (teaching hospital), so it was a combination of his schedule, getting insurance approval for the CT scan (last diagnostic test needed) and surgery as well as my husband's schedule. He's a teacher and off for the summer, so this was optimum for us since he'd be home during the first months of recovery. Worked out very well, with the good weather I had no trouble doing my walks and enjoyed the Summer flowers.

    Good luck and let us know how it works out
  • For my L4-L5 micro-d, it was a few weeks.

    A year and a half later with the same surgeon, my L5-S1 micro-d, I called on a Friday around 4pm.
    They had an available opening for the following Wednesday, because someone had cancelled.

    The scheduling girl was really an angel with me.
    I expressed to her how much pain I was in and she put me on hold so she could go get the greenlight from the surgeon.

    I was on the operating table that Thursday. Thank goodness. Otherwise I would have had to wait in agonizing pain for a month till they got back from St. Petersburg Russia!

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • My appt was on Aug 19 - my bday :( - nad knew going in what I was deciding. Scheduled my fusion that day for OCT 5th. Seemed like a dang eternity instead of just under 7 weeks. And that was his first available....
  • It varies widely, but I would think if you talk to your doctor about wanting it before the 31st for insurance then he may be more willing to work with you.

    The good news is that with the economy surgeries, in general, are down at most hospitals so it will probably be easier to book the OR. If you're having a neurosurgeon do your procedure they are usually at the top of the pecking order for getting OR time, so that will also work in your favor. The bad news is with the holidays you'll have to work around any travelling and time off your surgeon takes.

    I had my surgery in August, and it took me 3 weeks to get it scheduled (it was at a major teaching hospital).
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I'm thinking maybe I can squeeze it in by the end of December. I have the discogram Thursday and figured I'll call the Orthopedic Spine Surgeon's office Monday and leave a message for his assistant - just to see if she thinks December is viable.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Since you are a 3 level fusion, you are going to be a "longer" case time-wise, I would book the surgery when you can, but let them know you are "flexible" should he have cancellations; neurosurgeons often due keep slots open for emergent cases which may be made available if not filled, or someone chickens out and cancels, provided you are "ready to go" on short notice. Good luck!
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Yep, since I am on disability (LTD) and my husband got laid off we are willing to do this anytime....the sooner the better! I hope to find out more next week.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
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