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Future Lumbar Surgery

GreyEagleGGreyEagle Posts: 350
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am going to be needing lumbar surgery in the near future. I am going to a surgeon who has privelages at the hospital my wife works at. The reason is that hospital waves the 20 percent my insurance does not pay if the person is an employee or spouse of an employee.

When I had my cervical surgery I still had insurance with my employer. I'm now on Social Security Disability. I won't be enrolled in medicare until Nov of this year. My insurance now is thru my wife's employer (the hospital this new neuro-surgeon works out of).

What I did not know is what I was told when I set up my initial appointment with this surgeon. He will not do surgery in an area of my back another surgeon has done surgery on. I know I will need future cervical surgery as well. I will have to go back to my original surgeon who did that surgery for that. By then I'll be on medicare plus my wifes insurance. So I shouldn't have to worry about the 20 percent her insurance doesn't cover for the hospital stay.

Gets complicated. Lol. Makes sense though.


  • Glad to hear that regardless of your status, that you are covered. I don't quite understand why a good neurosurgeon would refuse to work in the same area that another surgeon has done work. It just doesn't make sense. Anyway, I hope all goes well and that you are feeling better these days.

  • I wish you all the best for your upcoming fusion surgery. It's good you won't have to worry about paying extra and your wife will be close by or she will probably be home with you for some of the time you're off right? Since I don't live in the US I can't understand the Insurance issues except for the short time I worked there I was covered by health insurance on the job. I'm so glad you're approved now so you don't have to worry about extra funds. Take care and keep us posted about your upcoming surgery. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • One of the main reasons the surgeon will not do a revision surgery on a area another surgeon has already worked on is because it is way harder to do and he probablt has enough patients to keep him busy. I think it is a mistake to have surgery done at a particular place just because you can get a discount. If you are ok with the surgeon, that is one thing, but if you are leaning his direction just because of a 20% discount at the hospital in my opinion it is a big gamble/mistake. Especially since you already know he will only work on fresh backs. My experience tells me he won't redo a surgery that even he does and if one needs to be redone he will just blow you off.

    Have you had any other opinions on if you need surgery? The thing about back surgery is once its done you can not go back.

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I know that some surgeons don't want to do surgery too soon after another surgeon has done work in that area. However if it's been a while I'm not sure why he would not want to work on an area again unless he doesn't want to take on a challenge.

    I had a lumbar fusion in 1987 and 1993 and my surgeon just did a total revision and added an additional level of fusion. The surgeon I am using now is not the one I used in the past.

    I had a cervical fusion in 2006 and a cervical posterior foraminotomy in 2008 done by a local surgeon. However I was not happy with his approach to me and he kind of brushed me off the last time I was there. My new surgeon will evaluate my cervical spine and is fully willing to go in and fix anything he finds.

    In my case it's not that the other surgeons did anything wrong, it's just further deterioration and changes. So see if the surgeon you see is only opposed to working on areas recently done and which may have errors OR if he will consider doing revision work that is needed just due to changes, worsening of the symptoms, or fusing additional levels, etc.

    I know this surgeon you are planning to see may save you some money but please consider getting an opinion from an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon and/or Neurosurgeon outside the plan. I've always been of the thought that I'll pay more for THE right surgeon.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I am home now from my lumbar surgery (laminectomy). the surgery was a success). I do still have the same symptoms as before. That will take time to heal I'm sure.

    This neurosurgeon is going to do my future cervical fusion once I am recovered from the lumbar I had this week. He said I will need a fusion at c3/c4 c4/c5. He told me he will take bone from my hip to fuse the vertebrae once the discs are out.

    He said he will also use titanium plate/screws. I'm kind of wondering how bad the pain will be in my hip compared to my neck.

    I keep fading in and out of consiousness as I type because I'm on oxycodone 15 mg and morphine. the former I take every 4 hours and latter every 8 hours.


  • You are right at the beginning of your recovery. It will get better, I assure you.
    You just need to get plenty of rest and do some short walks each day.

    From what I have read, cervical fusion is easier to recovery from than lumbar fusion. For now, I would just concentrate of recoverying from your lumbar surgery.

    Wishing you well and I hope that everything progresses well and smoothly.

    I didn't have a graft taken from my hip, so I can't help there. They used the bone taken from the laminectomy and facetectomy they did. Someone else who has experience of this will post, I'm sure.

    I just wanted to wish ou well in your recovery. :-)

  • That seems like a lot of surgery to have lumbar and cervical done in the same year. I wish you a complete recovery and hope you start feeling better. My best. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    So glad to see you are home and healing. We are on similar tracks as I had an L3-S1 fusion in February and will possibly have my C5-C7 ACDF revised to include C4 this year!
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Glad you are home and healing!

    I had bone taken from my hip and used in both the anterior and posterior L4-5 fusion. the bone graph site does hurt, but the medications help to give pain relief. So it is manageable!

    Wishing you the best!
  • ive been there. in 1992/1995 had cervical fusions. docter took bone from my hip, and in my case the hip hurt worse then my neck surgery.
    i had to buy them farmers bib coveralls cause i couldnt stand anything putting pressure on my waist like sweatpants.
    i am now post-op lumbar fusion 2 level, and for me the lumbar surgery is a harder and longer recovery. the docter took bone from my pelvis for my lumbar fusion.
    Hope this helps answer your questions,but everybody is different.
    My Best
  • I am just over two weeks post-op Lumbar Laminectomy (5 lvl). My lower back is very sore. I expect that will be the case for some time.

    I saw my surgeon this morning. He said the site looks great, no infections. He said the nerve damage should heal within around 4 months, if it is going to. I lived with it a long time.

    I've decided to wait until right after the new year next year to have my cervical discectomy/fusion. My medicare kicks in in November. I don't want to have issues swallowing during the Thanksgiving/Christmas Holidays. Between Medicare and the Premera Blue Cross I have thru my wife's work I'll be very well covered.

    When I have surgery at the hospital she works at (as I just did), they waive the 20 percent of my share of cost for employees and immediate family members.

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