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Am I making the right choice?

ouch2oouch2 Posts: 1,270
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All! I have had multiple opinions from surgeons (ortho and nuero) and have been offered micro Discetomy to fusion.
I have finally decided to have the micro d. I am hopeful that this will help me sciatic pain, but won't do anything for my back, facet pain. Have others made the choice to go with micro d when they also have issues with facet,coccyx joint pain,ostephytes,disc space loss and stenosis?

I am afraid that this surgery will not give me enough relief to bother with, but at the same time, think I should give it a chance before going to fusion.

I have been told that I will always have issues and pain, but just want to make sure that I get some relief.

Any words of wisdom, experiences?

Thanks, and here's to less pain for all!

>:D< Karen
>:D< >:-D< : Karen
L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
adr L5-S1 Feb 2012


  • Karen,
    I know you said you had several options offered.
    How many surgeons said fusion & how many said micro D?
    I assume the doc who offered the micro D doesn't feel a fusion is necessary, did he explain why, his reasoning?

    My thoughts on spine surgery would be try the least invasive procedure if the surgeon is confident that it will provide relief, correct a deformity or aid in stopping the progression of further damage. Fusion changes your anatomy FOREVER and albeit that many have remarkable results many do not.

    You are symptomatic in several areas, did the surgeon tell you a fusion would relieve the joint, facet, etc pain?

    I know you know that spine surgery is a personal decision that you have to make and I know you want to chose correctly the first time out. I do understand how frustrating this is. Wouldn't it be great if all the surgeons said the same thing! Goes to show you how grey the science really is.

    I wish you clarity in your choice. You need to be 100%;. all in, so to speak.

    Best of luck!
  • I am confused on what to do, but need to do something now to give me some kind of relief. Two orthos said that I needed a fusion (but they don't do fusions...only discetomies,laminectomies etc.)

    The neuro who does fusion, just said he would recomend micro discectomy. He thinks it will help my leg pain somewhat, but will not help my back (facet) pain. He also doesn't think that nerve damage will come back in my shin and foot, since the nerve has been compressed for so long.

    I think that since this is my first back surgery, he wants to take the least invasive approach first, and go from there. I am at the point that I just want to get some kind of relief, but at the same point, if I only get some relief, how much of my life will I get back.I do want to act quickly though to avoid further nerve damage.

    Does anyone have experience with surgery to deal with facet issues, and if so, what type of surgery helped with it?

    Oh how I wish they all sugested the same thing...

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • My thoughts...

    - I feel your frustration.
    - I would go with less invasive surgery knowing that it will provide some relief and possibly buy you time for other better options (other than fusion) in the future.
    - I think you'll find that the more doctors you go to, the more they'll be split on options. The question is, are you someone who would prefer to try the conservative route or try something more aggressive and be willing to accept the risks with the more aggressive surgery?

    Personally, I'm conservative when it comes to surgery. I did a final e-consult with eCleveland clinic and they helped confirm the direction.

    The key things for you to consider
    1) Do you trust the neurosurgeon?
    2) Do you feel you can have an open conversation with him?
    3) Has he discussed the plan beyond the surgery? in other words, what post-op appointments will he have with you? What will he do if you are doing worse after the surgery? What if no change? How long will he wait until post-op to suggest you consider the next 'surgery'? Has he talked about his approach to pain management?
    4) Do you understand the risks with each option?

    Personally, I picked my neurosurgeon for the 2nd surgery based on a lot of his answers. He actually spent a ton of time with me talking through what he would do if this 2nd surgery failed. He said, I want you to pick a doctor that you can be with for the long haul "in case" this one doesn't work. It didn't mean he thought it would fail but he wanted me to understand his approach to back treatment so that I wasn't doctor hopping looking for a quick answer.

    I knew his approach to recovery, the pain management, his feelings on prescription meds (he would always let me know what meds existed but never said here's a prescription...he told me about them so I could do research and know there were options). He educated me and told me what things to think about.

    So that being said...I am with you on the more conservative surgery but that's my pesonal opinion and my situation is not the same as yours.

    I'm happy to have resolved the leg pain issue. My back pain is manageable now that the leg pain is under control.

    Good luck with your decision.
  • Hi; and i agree with DNice.

    She also made an excellent point about asking if you can talk openly with your Doctor.
    That way if you need the doctor's help with insurance issues or anything else, doctor's that you can open up to, will most likely go that extra mile to help you out.

    Best of luck to ya with your upcoming surgery.
  • You are absolutely right about having a great relationship and being open with your doctor. I have only had one consult with this neuro, and while it is not the relationship that I have with my ortho, I did feel comfortable with him...I just didn't like his odds of my recovery (nerve damage remaining, no help with my back pain)

    He did answer my questions, and is going to work with my ortho afterwards.The ortho is going to help me with my joint issues.

    I do trust him as I know a few people who have had great results with him, and I know that this surgery is nothing like some that he does (many many level fusions)

    Aftercare will be at 6 weeks and 6 months? I think. But will be working with the ortho right after surgery on a more regular basis.

    Risk wise I know that less invasive is probably the best route to try first.

    I think I have thought for the past 8 months that it was fusion that I was having, and now this is a whole new option. Unfortunately it doesn't look like it is going to be the "miracle" that I was hoping for. I have a very physical job, and like to be active, and am afraid I may never get back to those.

    Hope everyone is having moments of painless times today.

    >:D< to all
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
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