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meeting with surgeon today

DebraSDDebraS Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
first let me say my pain management dr is part of a HUGE medical practice, this practice has every type of dr you can think of. as per my first post my pain management dr has been pushing me towards injections, than when he got my mri referred me to a spine surgeon within his practice group. I asked monday for a soft neck collar as I used ot have one and it helped with spasms and he denied me-a simple soft collar to help relax my muscles.

So I drive the 45 minutes to the spine surgeon to find his office is shared with! my pain management dr. (pain management dr is in town mon & fri and out tue-thurs at the office where surgeon is apparently). I had my xrays done-again, and the surgeons assistant came and spoke with me explainig my mri & xrays(the mri and xrays are also part of their group). Assesing my functions said I have weakness on my left side. He felt my neck spasms and said they are pretty severe. He pointed out my very limited range of motion in my cervical spine during the examination and it showed on my xrays. The assistant leaves and the surgeon comes in with a physical therapist, another part of their group. The surgeon did not evaluate me in any way shape or form. He did not have me turn my head, he did not touch my neck-he didnt shake my hand. Just sat in his seat and talked.

The only part of meeting this guy that I respect was he isnt rushing for surgery. He said I need a 3 level fusion and doing so now would cause more of the same issues I have now above & below the fusion, so I should wait until I am neurological compromised. The 2 discs are touching my spinal cord but not to the point I am having severe neurological issues yet.

He was a know it all. First he blamed my kyphosis on posture and introduced me to the physical therapist he walked in with. I explained Ive done 5-6 rounds of physical therapy and I know the exercises. Than he said the kyphosis was from my congenital fusion, than he said I was born with it. After that 3rd explanation I asked how come it was never found in the last 17 years Ive been having issues? Ive had ct scans for my cancer, mri's & xrays on cervical spine and noone ever mentioned it. He said it is something missed unless a spine surgeon reads it (yet their radiology dept found it in my mri). Than went back to the posture cause, so I said I was told years ago that due to the muscles removed in my cancer surgery it left the ones there to work extra hard maybe that is why. His response was they do not remove muscles they lift them up. I told him look in your computer my surgical reports are in there-my 3rd surgery was a bi-lateral modified radical neck diasection and in that surgery muscles were removed since they contained lymph nodes containing cancer. (in my surgical reports my surgeon goes thru the techniques used to remove everything, what was sent to pathology-and there are 2 muscles on each side of my neck that went to pathology in there. As far as I know once something goes to pathology it does not get put back in lol)His response was I am a surgeon thats what I do they dont remove muscles-I suggest you do what dr ...(the pain management dr wants aka shots) and return if things get worse....

do I leave things as they are or go to a different dr that doesn't know it all and takes time to examine someone? if so what kind of dr? like someone else spost, I wish these dr's could feel the pain I feel if just for 2 days than they would know what people go thru. I am kept on the same meds that do close to nothing to help my pain & spasms.again here are my mri reports from last week.

c4-c5 mild circumferential endplate spurring and moderate broad-based disc bulging effacing the ventral thecal sac and narrowing the AP diameter of the spinal canal to 9.5mm, compatible with mild spinal canal stenosis.

c5-c6 decrease of the AP diameter of the vertrebral bodies with narrowing of the intervertebral disc space, compatible with partial congenital fusion.

c6-c7 mild circumferential endplate spurring and moderate broad-based disc bulging effacing the ventral thecal sac and narrowing the AP diameter of the spinal canal to 10mm, compatible with borderline spinal canal stenosis.

c4-c7 mild kyphosis which may be secondary to the muscle spasm or chronic and secondary to congenital partial fusion of c5-c6.


  • Hello
    I would suggest you get a second and maybe a third opinion as to what course of action to take. Is this spine doc a Neurologist or Orthopedic? I personally prefer a Neuro myself.
    Not sure what state you are in but New York's Hospital for Special Surgery will look at your mri's and exrays for no fee. If they can help you then you will be called in for a consultation.
    Best of luck to you
  • he is an orthapedic spine surgeon.

    Another thing I thought of is either he cant read mri/xrays or their radiology dept cant-he said my kyphosis was at my congenital fusion & up but the mri report says c4-c7. 2 totally different sections so either he didn't take time to read my reports & view the xrays/mri or their radiology dept read something wrong-lol and I laugh but it isnt a joking matter I think I went to one of those cracker jack box dr's.

    Im going to write him a nice letter with copies of my surgical procedure report from my cancer & the pathology report and highlight the muscles that were removed. The surgeon who did my surgery knows what he removed, its all written in his procedure report, and the pathology lab in their break down of all the parts I would hope knew what they were examining. Unless dr know it all cracker jack box has some special ability to know what they did to me 20 years ago without being there, reading my reports or examining me.

    I will take your advice should I see a neurologist or neurosurgeon?
  • I went thru the same kind of BS with an Ear, Nose & Throat surgeon. Bleh! I followed my instincts and was right. I didn't need my deviated septum straightened, my sinuses scraped out and tubes in my ears. I simply needed to get rid of my guinea pig because of the Timothy Hay they eat. The
    surgeon never asked me if I had pets in the house.
    He also never tried to medically treat it with nasal
    irrigations or saline sprays, etc. He was rearing
    to go with surgery.

    I went to a Neurologist. The first thing he said to me was, "You have no INTENTION of getting off of
    disability because you have no INCENTIVE to". Then as I was leaving, his assistant stopped me at the counter and said, "The Neurologist looked at your MRI and found the Radiologist report wasn't thorough enough. He says if six weeks of PT don't help you, he wants to do surgery". Yeah...right!

    I went to a Neurosurgeon who said, "Your neck is
    better than MINE". Yeah...right!

    Pick your poison! It's a crap shoot. Go see one of each and make an informed decision the BEST WAY that you can.

  • Neurosurgeon
    They have more training and I personally wouldn't want anyone else touching my spine. A neurologist may be of help also. I'm surprised you haven't been to one yet

    Best of luck to you
  • Neurosurgeon does surgery NOT a Neurologist
  • I'm not sure im needing surgery yet... I know it is coming sometime down the road since I've developed kyphosis & stenosis and the disc bulges have gotten worse. I live in florida so there is no shortage of dr's here it's just hard to find a good one where I live. Thank you for directing me where to go, I will be looking for neurosurgeons in the coming week to get a couple more opinions. At the very least maybe I can find a dr that can help reduce some of my pain temporarily while I figure out the right way to get this mess fixed.
  • As I said I would go to a good Neurologist first who can diagnose any nerve problems that you may be having. One test that he may try is an EMG test and although not a "comfortable" test to take it does pinpoint some problems. If he feels it is warranted he will then direct you to a Neurosurgeon.
    Good luck to you
  • thats my thought. A neurosurgeon should be a referal from your neurologist. Most surgeons do not want to see you until the neurologist has diagnosed the problem and signed off that he can't help.

    Neurologists also tend to have more time to talk with you. Surgeons are in a rush.

    Your intuition is right. That doctor did not want to find out what was wrong. He only wanted something that he could bill you for - either surgery or PT. I also hate when they play the blame game. Why do I care why it happened. I am here now because I need help not because I slouched as a kid and you want to blame my parents.

    Keep looking. If doc number 2 is a quack find number 3.
  • I have had 2 fusions and several procedures. My phsychiatrist sayd that because I am in so much pain all the time, I am depressed. My surgeon says that the pain is worse because of my depression. Hmmmm. Also, after being on a depression cocktail for almost two years.......I am in more pain than ever before.
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