Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

bad news from neuro surgeon on friday

southforkgirlssouthforkgirl Posts: 38
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone,
I finally got the news on friday that I will need a lamonectomy of the L3-4,L4-5,and L5-S1 area. Its suppose to be relatively easy surgery. For the surgeon anyway. Im just wondering what Im going to be going through. Can anyone tell me if they had this done and How long is recovery?
On another note, I had and ACDF C4-7 2 years ago. The spine surgeon that did the surgery told me that I was fusing at the C4-5 and C5-6 levels but not at the C6-7 level. then he just left it at that. I told him that i felt something in my throat like a lump that wont go away. He didnt do anything. Well here I am now with a new nero surgeon and he said that they really messed up my neck. It never fused at any level and I have a huge swollen lump in the soft tissue cause by the plate slipping. Also, the disc above the, so called fusion, is being pulled open from the slipped hardware. Man what a mess. He wants to do a posterior surgery to put rods in for stability, because the vertibrae within the fusion are busting up. Now Im looking at 2 surgeries within a few months of each other. Im very scared and upset. Dont know what to think or do. I knew there was something wrong but wow, what a mess im in. Can anyone help me through this and have any suggestions.
Thanks for letting me vent. You guys are great for support. You are the only ones that know what its like.
God Bless All of you


  • I had a two level laminectomy with PLIF on L4/L5 ten weeks ago.
    Hard to say how recovery will be for you as I had a fusion at the same time.

    I am doing well now though. The surgery wasn't nearly as bad as I had anticipated, but I know I have been very lucky. :-)

    I wish you well and hope that your recovery goes smoothly.
    If you search on the treatments part of this website, you will find information about laminectomy.
  • Hello there Southfork girl,
    I imagine you are upset...and scared. Are you comfortable with your new surgeon? Staring 2 surgeries in the face is daunting,particularly after the "mess" already made.Get another surgeons opinion if you can.Do lots of research on your own,it will build your confidence and help you decide what to do. If it were me,I'd be talking to an attorney too!
    You're right about this being a place where we all get it...
    Have a good day....let us know what you're going to do.
  • that must have been a lot of information to process, hearing that - but - it seems ( if it were me) I would be anxious to get what was done & isn't right
    redone as soon as I could & also - as others have said ( especially since you have had this bad experience ) I would probably also want another Surgeon to take a look & get that 2nd opinion - it sounds as if it could be made right though

    good luck to you & thank goodness that you have been given the true picture on what you have to deal with

    hope you can get everything taken care of & go from there - the appointments are the first step & then you can go from there & you've already taken your first steps - good luck, susan ( will be thinking good thoughts for you )
  • It sounds like you and I are both rowing the same boat, so to speak, as far as having issues with several levels of the spine. I'll be having 3-level lumbar laminectomy/discectomy with stabilization hardware a week from today. At the same time, I also had a 3-level ACDF with two hemicorpectomies about 3-1/2 years ago. Recent testing has shown that the lowest level has not yet fused. I'll most likely opt for posterior hardware stabilization toward the end of the summer, after I've reccovered a bit from the lumbar surgery.

    Please try hard not to stress too much over this, although I know that's easier said than done. I would ask for a copy of both the MRI report and the MRI itself (on disc, if they use that technology for patient copies). Read and try to understand as much as possible, then meet with your new neurosurgeon and ask him to show you exactly what he means.

    I'm concerned that you used the term "busting up" to describe the vertebrae -- what wording did your surgeon use to lead you to think they were crumbling? When you meet with him again, be sure to bring a notepad so you can write down what he says. Ask him to repeat himself if you must. No need to apologize for doing so, he wants you to get it right.

    It sounds like you are on the right track with having a surgeon who is addressing your issues. It goes without saying that you can come here all you want and vent. Just don't let that stress and fear get in the way of really understanding what your doctor is saying to you.

    Good luck with your upcoming surgery. You'll be in my thoughts. :)
  • Wow, I'm sorry about all the bad news that you heard yesterday.

    I agree with some of the others that another opinion is probably a good idea. One of the things that I think is also important is that you have complete confidence in your new surgeon, whether it's this one or another one, especially considering that you have to have a previous botched surgery fixed.

    Once you find that surgeon, let the doc choose the path that he/she feels is the best way to go, which is the best to treat first and what that treatment will be.

    I can understand how upsetting this is for you, I know I'd feel the same way. But try to go into this with a positive attitude and make sure you have complete confidence in your surgeon before you begin this long process.

    Take care of yourself and just take one step at a time. I know it's difficult, but we're here for you and will help you along the way.

  • Hey South,

    I can chime in sense I have had the revision cervical surgery, actually have had the posterior entry done twice. I will have to caution that posterior surgery is much harder to recover from that anterior surgery. You also need to find out what type of bone grafting material they will be using for the surgery? Will they be using your bone or using some type of synthetic material? Also will they be removing your anterior plate at the same time. They can only access that plate from a anterior incision. Putting the rods in posterior for revision surgery is rather common. The one thing I wouldn't do is let them cut on your neck till the lumbar surgery has completely healed. In my opinion you will have to much going on and never be able to tell where the pain is coming from. I am kind of shocked they wouldn't be fixing your cervical spine if it is coming apart sense the cord lies in that area and you don't have that in the lumbar area. As the others have said I would get more than one opinion before committing to any surgery. Good luck and keep us posted
  • Just another note: It is one of the possibilities when having multi-level fusions that there may be failure to fuse at one or more levels. It is also one of the possible negative outcomes listed on the patient surgical consent, right next to infection, bleeding, etc. etc. and we all signed that we were aware of these possibilities. It doesn't happen to everyone, but it is not uncommon with a multi-level fusion. That's why we have postsurgical follow-up down the road, so it can be identified and treated.

    I have a real problem with surgeons that feel it is OK to bad-mouth other surgeons and their procedures while "signing up" the patient for surgery with the new doc. It is in the nature of some to have a bit of a god complex -- nobody can do it as good as they can, everything else is crap, they wouldn't have done it that way, what was the other surgeon thinking -- and I saw it day in and day out in the operating room. To say such things in front of a patient is so totally unprofessional, and it would absolutely cause me to ask for yet another surgeon's opinion.

    Hey, I worked in the operating room every day, and I've had a lot of serious health problems over the years to boot, so I don't scare too easily and can see the chest-beating for what it is. But I have absolutely NO patience with healthcare professionals who scare the holy crap out of the patient while he's making *himself* feel better. I'm sure he didn't even know you were so terrified by what he said to you.

    You take control of the situation and seek an opinion from someone who is focused on YOU, not him/herself.

    Just my $.02 for what it's worth.
  • Have you asked the Dr about doing them both at the same time so that you are done when you leave the hospital? Having another surgery while still recovering from one can knock you back a few steps.. I had 2 spinal fusions in 10 months (Lumbar and thoracic).. If I had know that I would hurt myself a few months after my 1st surgery I would have waited and had them done on the same time.. Ha ha ha.. I'm not sure if he would do it but just thought it was a question.. Of course you personally may not want that which I understand completely.. I was just curious.. Hope you get your back fixed and are up and moving pain free ASAP... Bye
  • You guys are all great. Im doing tons of research and feel somewhat better about what im having done. The insurance company wont do both surgeries at the same time. They love to make life harder. Anyway, I should clear up some things. First, this new neuro doc is one of the top surgeons in the state (there is proof of that). Second, I think I messed up saying that my vertibrae are busting up. I think its more like, they are moved out of place and the dark lines we see on the scan are the nonfusion. The surgeon said we can leave the hardware in the front unless it keeps pulling the vertibrae forward. We just have to wait. I will surely get a second opinion. Also, I dont have a bunch of time because my cobra ends at the end of december. So, we will do the lumbar first as it gives me the worst trouble. Hard to function when it hurts to bend, walk, etc. The cervical spine is bad but it can wait for awhile. Oh, did I mention that during my follow up appointments after my surgery the other surgeon told me that 2 of the 3 levels where fusing just fine. Why would they lie to me? Is it because they want you to think its a success? even if it isnt.
    I also understand that we are aware of the risks of this type of surgery. We have to sign a consent and that protects the dr. I know that it is possible that surgery of this type may not turn out so good. I was hoping for at least some relief though. My bad. lol
    There just isnt any way I would be able to sue. Cost is high and I dont have a leg to stand on (so to speak lol). Anyway, I need to ask you guys, First off Im a truck driver and I dont think I will be able to do it after this. if I cant then we need to think about disability. What I need to know is, do You think Im a candidate or not. Im not sure what is required to be eligiable. Does anyone else know if I can qualify? Just asking in case.
    Im just being realistic, because what company is going to hire you with a bad back, seriously, I wouldnt. And you cant lie. We will see how it goes though. I may be ok to drive. I will have to wait. Yuck, all this waiting can play on your mind ya know.
    Ok, I will shut up. I love you guys and thank you for the support. Ill keep you informed
  • southforkgirl, the Social Security Administration has a booklet of guidelines regarding what is required for disability status. There are a number of listed conditions that, if you meet the stringent criteria, would be accepted as disabling. If you have a job that is not listed there, there is another way of seeing if you would meet the requirements.

    The first thing anyone will ask you is for your work history, probably for the past 10-15 years, and if you paid Social Security taxes for that job. You have to have been working for a certain number of recent years to qualify -- my brain is fuzzy on just how many right now. If you don't have the work history, you're disqualified from collecting on Social Security Disability.

    Basically speaking, you must be suffering from a condition that has rendered you incapable of work, and this disability must be expected to last for at least 12 months. Your medical records have to back this up. The first six months you are unable to work are a "waiting period," that is, if you were to win your case, you would not receive benefits for that time. You must not be working at the time of your application; if it is determined that you are working in any capacity at all, all work will stop on your file and you will be automatically denied.

    This is just a snapshot; I'd look online for information, one good source is disabilitysecrets.com. Consider the use of an attorney along the way. I have.

    It's a long, tough road. You have to be willing and ready to stick it out.

    Good luck to you.
  • Get at least a second and maybe a third opinion. If you want one in Nassau county PM me. I like my surgeon and he is head of surgery at LIJ/Northshore. Really nice guy and down to earth.
  • If you have the lumbar first, that your anesthesia team understands about your unstable neck. They have to maintain a neutral spine while turning you onto your stomach for the lumbar surgery. Your airway is the first priority....

Sign In or Register to comment.