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It has been a long time!!! New surgeon to see :)

HeidiLynnMHHeidiLynnM Posts: 445
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello everyone!!! I have been reading everyones posts, ect. but not posting. Anyhow, a update on me: I am going to see my 5th and hopefully last surgeon on the 8th of next month!!!! I have heard wonderful things about this group of neuro's. I am traveling almost 2 hours to see this doctor. I am very nervous/excited at the same time. For those of you wondering why I have seen so many surgeons, I just wasn't comfortable with what they wanted to do.

I was approved for a spinal cord stimulator from work comp a few months ago, and I decided not to do it right now. I am going to see what this surgeon has to say. The last one wanted to do a artifical disk for l5 s1. I was not offered a lot of explanation, what to expect, nothing. I was not for that!!!!! :?

I do have a question for all of you with expertise, what do I ask this new doctor I am going to see? I have some questions I want to ask, but what is the best ones to find out? I just don't think that I can live with this pain anymore :''( .

Thanks for reading, and any input would be great!!!! >:D<


  • Thanks for the info!!!! I am glad that someone actually responded back to me :) I thought that I was smelly or something, LOL :)
  • Nice to see you on the board again. I had been wondering how you guys were getting along. Please post an update when you have time.

    I'm glad you have an appointment with someone you are looking forward to seeing. I'm surprised someone wanted you to try a spinal cord stimulator. In the past at least, those were always reserved for "the last resort" when there was nothing left to try, at least regarding surgery.

    I've spent the better part of this past year trying to track down the source of my radiculopathy at S1. Both my surgeons suggested a SCS but I said "not now." I feel like I must be the Queen of second opinions by now!

    I think it is a good idea to get a mix of opinions for neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine guys. At least in my experience, they come at things from slightly different directions. My current ortho shrugs and says neurosurgeons are "fussy." By that he meant that most of them need a series of conditions to be met before they will operate, and are more likely to tell the patient they can't help them, whereas orthos will try to make it work...hard to explain, but I understood what he meant.

    Anyway, I usually try to give the doctor a quick synopsis of what I've been through so far, since I have had two surgeries...and then I let him ask me questions. Usually they will have something specific in mind and will tell you what they would recommend. Then you can ask why he feels X would have the greatest success at resolving your issues.

    What I wouldn't do is go in and tell him what other doctors have suggested. I might not even mention seeing other doctors unless asked. I would just let him take the lead and see where it takes you.

    Then you can ask the usual questions...how long you'd be in the hospital, how long is the recovery, when could you return to work, etc. I personally do not find it useful to ask about success rates, etc. You will just get the same statistics quoted to you that you can find on line. And then you're getting into quibbling over the definition of "success" which will be different for the doctor than it might be for the patient.

    I know my fusion was considered a success by everyone other than me. I was still in almost as much pain as prior to surgery. My PT helped me to understand that my doctor had basically accomplished everything he had set out to do. He corrected my spondylolisthesis, stabilized those segments of my spine and cleaned out the stenosis. All this was performed well and I healed perfectly and fused. He never told me I would be pain-free. But from my perspective, I still cannot stand longer than a few minutes and cannot walk more than about two blocks, some days less.

    So I now pick more on the subjective things. I've already made an initial selection when I booked my appointment based on his educational background, where he did his fellowship, what his specific areas of interest are, etc. I know I would be in the hands of a competent surgeon. So then I go by silly things like the office, how crowded it is, how long I have to wait, how the staff treats me, and most especially, if I have to go through a layer of staff before getting to see the doctor. I don't like having to tell my story to the nurse, then the physician's assistant and then have the doctor stick his head in at the last for a couple minutes. If I get the feeling the doctor is rubber stamping the PA's work, or that he isn't going to be willing to answer questions, I don't even bother asking them as I know I will not be going back...but I know many of these things do not bother other people!!

    I hope you are not dissappointed after your appointment. That happened to me at my last consultation. I was really looking forward to it and then it turned out to be very ordinary. He had nothing different to offer me and I did not feel he had any qualities to recommend him over my surgeons here in my city. But I felt kind of let down the whole drive home. I got over it, and am now scheduled for a three-level fusion on March 2nd. I could have gone in sooner but I didn't want to be drugged and miss the Olympics. ;)

    So this is kind of long but maybe it will cause you to think of some things you want to ask...the link to the list that you were given covers all the basic questions!

    Good luck. I hope you really like this surgeon and that he will have something to offer you that will resolve your problems.

    Take good care,
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