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Has anybody seen this website?

happyHBmomhhappyHBmom Posts: 2,070
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I found it really interesting- it is quite out there about the risks and controversy regarding low back pain. It's a very biased website, against low back surgery, but it also does have some interesting statistics and information, and show some very good graphics indicating why anyone considering lumbar fusion should consider it carefully (bummer for those of us who had our fusions done for us).

Anyway, if you don't want to read an anti-fusion site, stay away. If you'd like to see the other side of the argument, check it out. (and I did look, and couldn't see that they were selling anything, but I didn't check the entire site). Personally, I don't always mind reading biased sites as long as I understand the biases.



  • Thanks for posting. It was interesting to read anyway.
  • I obviously always believe surgery should be used as a last resort. But then again as times are tough for many, your pushing productivity the highest it has ever been, you some how have to also push the risk higher to achieve the higher productivity levels. What I don't like about articles like that is the data they use, one of the studies they are sightin is from 1984. The other study has 225 patients in it, but quotes 100,000 surgeries being done a year. But as with any point you want to prove you can find the data on the internet to support it. So we as the consumer have to say "buyer be ware".

    I found this particular interesting under the risk:
    There is no free lunch in health care. Every treatment and drug has potential risks. The challenge is for the patient to reasonably determine what these risks are in advance and see if they are greater than the potential benefits of treatment. Unless there is full understanding of risk, it is simply not possible for a patient to have have informed consent. Sometimes the greatest risk to the patient is the car ride to the hospital.

    But particular the lines every treatment and then of course the car ride. In the city i live in that is absolutely true I have a higher risk of being injured driving to the facility than I do by any surgeon or procedure. But I will go out again and again and take the risk of driving my car. The other key is every treatment.

    But the point is everyone should know the good bad and ugly of any procedure you under take. Most people will spend more time researching a car purchase than researching something that could cause them serious harm and or by someone.

    The other thing the report fails to justify is what is a success and what is not a success. I don't like half studies like that. I think you need to correlate the data better. For example all medical facts of the participants. Things that might be pre dispose them for higher risk. For example smokers. The other issue you have here is that they say it is because of pain they call them failed surgeries. But we all know that pain is subjective. I am not saying that anyone here is faking pain. The other issue becomes how many of these people had true nerve damage prior to surgery. The archondalisis data was taken from the 80's so i don't think the data is any good sense that chemical is no longer used.

    As far as the discogram issue i find that interesting, sense my surgeon said the same thing about it's use. But yet many insurance companies won't approve till the procedure is performed. The other thing is that most insurance companies would rather pay for a surgery following the what 20 appointments they may provide of physical therapy. So someone may have luck doing therapy but the insurance is going to run out on them. They then maybe placed in a position as to what to do. Their employers are not going to wait their pain out and recovery from it.

    They claim it is a money maker for surgeons. But yet there is no supporting data to prove it. I have issues with broad statements as such. I know from my recent surgeon out of all that was involved my surgeon got paid the least, but had the most on the line. I actually about fell off my chair seeing that information. I have some old medical bills from the 80's and I find it interesting the amount of money a surgeon was being paid back then till today. There is a serious gap in what is happening, while we know medical cost only continue to grow and mal-practice claims on the rise with all the ambulance chasing lawyers. We see it here quit commonly that someone want to sue their surgeon for pain they have following the surgery. Thank heaven I live in a state with mal-practice reform already passed and in place.

    AS with everything differing opinions are good to see. However knowing the history of the burton report and the founders does show the biased of the research. The founder of the burton report is a neuroaugmentative surgeon implanting the very first neurostimulators for intractable pain. So I can see why they wouldn't want anyone to get a surgery they might resolve their pain as it kind of puts them out of business and goes against the principles of how they feel to resolve the pain. But we all know those fail as well. Unfortunately that is not mentioned in the article.
  • I found this article early this morning while looking up a procedure that my mom saw on the news last week- I came back here to see if anyone else had seen it, so thank you for posting about it.

    I found it interesting because it does mention the other side of fusion (the biggie for me as it scares the you know what out of me to think about it) as a scardey cat, I'd really like to think there are other ways to fix things... yes, I can see it is biased, and yes, I can see the flaws in the data...

    but when I compare that to the doctor/surgeon (fellowship trained, known for his expertise, blah blah blah) that walked into the room, introduced himself and opened the convo with all the surgery I needed - I'm willing to put some more research time into it.

    I can only bring to this decision what I'm facing and fearing. I'm 50 years old, I've broken a lot of things over my lifetime... I did things I shouldn't have... stupid, risky, fun things that put my back in jeopardy. While I'm coming up on 2 years quit, I smoked for almost 37 years.... so a lot of damage is already done.

    Every time I think of rods and screws... I think... we've sent a vehicle to freaking MARS and got pictures back... we've got people in space... we can heat and run our buildings on power from the sun and from water...

    and still, rods and screws are what we're offered for our backs?? really??
    I know it's true, it's just not acceptable to me... yet. I say yet because the time may come when I can't stand all the mini fixes or they no longer work for me.

    Anyway, a site like that one lets me know that I'm not alone, that maybe when I'm willing to do something, there will be a doctor willing to do it as well (something else I mean).

    My cousin is pushing me to go to the special hosp in the city for bones and stuff... she says all the experts are there and she'll go and stay with me... walk me through it, so to speak. Maybe it's time I step out of the boonies and give it a try.

    I'm hoping at least the next time a doctor walks in the room he starts out the convo with, how can I help you... and not, here's what you need.

    Please note, this isn't a dis to anyone that has had fusion or is facing it. Peoople make their decisions based on what is offered, what is available, what can be done... and what they can stand. This is my own feeling for my own back. I have so many issues to deal with when considering surgery that I really really want there to be something else available. Yes, I may be living in wonderland...but it works for me. The knee surgery I had done 33 years ago was previously only done on professional atheletes.... they had never offered it to a "regular" person. Everytime I see a new doc, they're amazed that the surgery is still holding up...

    That's what I want for my back. something that will fix it, something I can live with. (shrug) that web site and others like it can give me a little more incentive to keep looking.
  • The site gives a thumbs up to Prolo.


    I believe too many fusions are being done and why on earth would someone want to have a fusion done to stabilize the spine without giving Prolo a chance to stabilize the spine is beyond me.

  • Probably because prolo has zero research support from peer reviewed journals, and in fact when compared to other treatments in research studies does not appear as effective as other therapies that are cheaper and less painful? Just a thought.

    The page on which the author thumbs up prolo doesn't offer any research or information, just propaganda.

    I actually agree with you that too many fusions are done. How many people come on here and say "I have pain, I haven't tried any physical therapy, but I was told on the first visit that I would need a multi-level fusion?" But they need to be following their own certifying board's policies, each of which has a kind of cascade of care from more conservative to less conservative. None of them, I believe, include prolotherapy (not that anybody isn't welcome to try it, but in my opinion it's not going to solve anybody's problems. But that is only my opinion).

    Remember, Clandy, that this is a biased site. It is set up to convince you that fusions are bad. So if you're looking for unbiased info, this is not the place to start.
  • If this site is biased then I would think that they would not be in favor of Prolo. Crashdummie and I both have had good results with Prolo. It is up to people to realize that Prolo is not a big money maker and there isn't anything fancy about it like PRP which works on the same principle and has gained more acceptance. But slowly, in the world of Sports Medicine Prolo is becoming more widely used.

    Here is one study.......
    The study was on 82 patients with chronic
    back pain for more than 1 year who had failed to
    respond to conservative treatment.43 Patients in
    the active treatment arm received extensive injection
    throughout the sacroiliac (SI) ligament and
    lower lumbar attachments with a solution containing
    12.5% dextrose + 12.5% glycerine +
    1.25% phenol + 0.25% lidocaine. Control patients
    received injection of saline solution in the same locations.
    All patients were injected weekly for 6
    weeks. Only 1 patient dropped out. Between 0
    and 6 months the Visual Analogue Scale pain
    score improved 60% in the active group and 23%
    in the control group with p value for an intergroup
    difference of < 0.001. A hybrid disability
    score improved 70% in the active group and
    30% in the control group (p < 0.001 for intergroup

    Ongley M, Klein R, Dorman T, et al: A new approach to the
    treatment of chronic low back pain. Lancet 2:143–146, 1987

  • I can't speak for anyone else but, I'm tired of being a guienne(*spelling) pig for insurance companies, research Drs, and pharmacutical companies. That is why I am going ahead with my fusion surgery it may not work but it shows better promise than all these so called alternatives. I understand peoples fear of surgery and do not knock anybody for what they choose to do just for me I've done the altenative stuff and I'm tired of "here try this first if it doesn't work we'll try something else". I do believe this though people are different and if it works for you go ahead full steam! I do wish everyone the best of luck and may we all have positive outcomes regards of the method we choose.
  • Oh, I agree! What I found interesting is that it mentions other methods... it's up to me to investigate and find a doctor that can give me solid information.

    Remember, I was the one with the doctor that, when asked if there was anything else I could do to put off fusion and all, he angrily (snobbishly??) told me if I wasn't willing to have the fusion and other surgery (front and back cuts?) there was nothing he could do for me, and he walked out.

    I was looking for some PT, some anti inflamatory, some pain management... possibly esi type thing... and he blew me off and shut me down for some time. This mentioned RFA and facet join injections, something I might benefit from, at least in the short term.

    While the findings in this report are probably pie in the sky, they provide me with the feeling that I can see another doc and say.... tell me what I can do to put off surgery for as long as possible... tell me the risks, the possibilities, etc. Someone not so full of himself maybe? Someone willing to listen to MY fears and give me an answer...

    for that alone, I feel even better with my decision than I have since all started to escalate. Thank you :)
  • Clandy, I know what you mean. I would suggest that you see a Sports Med Doctor who treats backpain using non surgical methods. They are out there. Surgery was suggested to me but I wanted to explore other choices first and as of today I have no regrets. Stick to your guns!
    You may also want to read "Healing Back and Joint Injuries" by Dr Valdez. It came out last year and in it he discusses all of the options available for treating back pain and when they should or should not be used.
    I can tell you from my own experience that of the four Sports Doc's that I've consulted none thought that I should have surgery. Maybe they were biased maybe not but I'll take the low risk, high success probability of Prolo any day over the risk of surgery.
    I don't care what Prolo's critics say.
  • I should state the obvious, that a surgeon will be biased towards surgery. Something to keep in mind when consulting with them.
  • YES! I seem to remember there being Ortho doc's when I was a kid... that weren't surgeons. I'm probably way off there as now that I think about it, the doc I saw at 7, did my surgery at 17.

    I think today, that type of doctor is a physiatrist. Again, the one I saw earlier in the year was so disappointing...and I guess I take it all too personally and I just give up. This one went on and on about the "contract". Now, I take viooprophen, skelaxin and flexeril as needed... I don't hide it, nor did I there. I told him I was there to discuss the possibility of ESI and/or facet injections... he really really wanted me to know that he wouldn't give me anything other than what I'm taking without several tests and visits... and did I understand that I'd have to come in every month to pick up my scripts and possibly be tested??? I said... okay, even though currently my doctor calls in my scripts... for the same meds, but okay...

    Again, maybe it's me, but I thought I was pretty clear about not wanting to take meds at all and hoping that the shots would help me acheive that. Due to back and/or knee issues, I've been on and off codeine since I was 7 years old. I've had years, decades in fact, where I needed nothing more than motrin. I don't mind giving them up, really! But again, my choice was poor, and I walked out disappointed. again, board certified, a practice with fellowship trained surgeons as well as PT and physiatrists... bleh.

    I'm not sure what prolo therapy is... I'll be taking a look at your link to see. I would like to say I'm not looking for a magic cure, but hell, that isn't true :D I want to wake up one morning and be fine! I'm sure I'm not alone there... but I'll accept being able to take my nephew for a walk in the park... not just telling him how I used to do that. :)
  • Clandy, you can google,"Healing Back and Joint Injuries" by Dr Valdez
    and you'll see Valdez's site listed( 4th site)
    there is a good amount of info there on Prolo.

    Also, Crashdummie and I have this thread, mostly about Prolo.

  • Tractx, I definitely agree, we have to try what we're willing to try and decide when enough is enough, or when more can be done. I don't think fusions are automatic failures... there are way too many people that have their lives back due to their fusion.

    My fear has to do with way too many things to go in to, but I haven't really tried anything... I've always just put up with it until it went away... and then one year, it didn't go away...and here I am.

    One thing about the prolo piece... I really don't understand what they are treating or what causes the issues... but I was diagnosed with ligament issues early on... way too loose, which caused a lot of dislocations growing up... mostly hip, shoulder, wrist and knee. I'd be very afraid of messing with that stuff now that it should be tightening up due to age ;) Also, one thing I was always told was to avoid the chiro... I did and, I'm happy for it. being so loose, I've had my shoulder dislocated by someone bumping into me rather forcefully... I'd rather not risk it with my back.

    Thank you for joining in with the additional information. As much as I hate to think of others in pain, it helps to know that others have travelled this road before and know the way.
  • Clandy, I think that you would be someone who should research Prolo further and discuss the treatment with Doctors who treat with Prolo because you suffer from ligament laxity.
  • I suffered on & off for SEVEN YEARS, before opting for a one level, ALIF, which was just performed on 8/24/10, too soon to say if its work, I am in a lot pain, had a few small complications, but at this point, NO REGRET! The alternative "band aide" treatments, many of which bought me time, many did more harm then good. I mean how many epidurals should one endure? I am relativity young, 42 but this started at 35, I am or was athletic, not over weight, only 105 @ 5'7". For almost 7 years, I tried anything and everything considered alternative.
    For me this last episode which hit on 12/22/09; and NEVER EASED UP! I mean the meds I was on alone, was ridiculous!
    everone has to decide for themselves, when & if that time comes!
    GOOD LUCK to all of you who have yet to have their possible fusion surgery, just be sure you have family support, a fantastically talented surgeon (get several opinions) and be sure its your time.
    I have two other levels with some major issues, but their time has not yet come!

  • Virginia, I hope you are feeling better soon and that the pain and complications only lessen from here on out. Please take care and keep us upto date on how you are doing!

    One of the other issues for me currently is that I am majority breadwinner and caretaker for my extended family and my mom. There's so much to try to get in place that I'd hoped to be able to get some of those lesser things just to extend the time until I have to do whatever has to be done. I know I'm far from rare, so many of us have families we need to take care of, I count myself lucky in that I haven't gotten to the point where the choice is being made for me, by my back.

    Wishing you a painless day and many more to come!
  • I can relate with you on many levels, I am the only employed person in my home too. I have been blessed with a successful career. My husband has worked on & off for the past 6 years, mostly off, due to his own medical isses, he does not receive any SSI or disability of any sort, but again financially, I have been able to support us. I have a 22 year old studying alternative medicine (watching me & his dad suffer inspired him!), I've been fully funding his schooling, housing, car, food, you name it. As I have been able thus far to do so, I have an 11 year old that my husband does everything for, HW, after school activities and such. not mention my husband is or was a chef, so he creates amazing meals for us daily! but now I am short term disability and the $ is not the same....more stress!
    have you sort a really good pain management doc or a phisatrist (spelling?) they will offer many alternative treatments, even some NS's will offer non surgical treatments, which sounds like u want to explore. Be weary of surgeons who just want to cut, I mean that's what they are trained to do & its what they do! Only few cases warrant surgery in first consult. I am NO. Doctor, but depending on your diagnosis and symptoms will indicate such.
    Forgive me if I have over looked it, what exactly is your medical problem? I am on so many meds, my memory is toast!
    Your cousin sounds like a great support, its hard to let go and lean on people, for me "big strong, smart business women, its been a humbling experience. I am even seeing a counselor! ME! and its helped!
    Thanks for your kind wishes! I wish you pain free days, I hope you find a doctor that puts your best interest first, above his/her financial gain! There are great docs out there you have to weed through them!
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