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Elective-Urgent-Emergency diagnosis

I was given the diagnosis of Urgent surgery needed, due to the unstable nature of the vertebrae

Procedure : transforaminal posterior lumbar interbody fusion, laminectomy L5S1

I understand that emergency is 911, call the ambulance, are we there yet?

I understand that elective is a suggestion that you should get it done. Something that should be considered, when looking at all the options.

So my questions are: 1) Urgent: other than the obvious answer that emergency proceeds all other answers, what is an average length of time that comes with that diagnosis? Days, weeks, months? How many? 2) has anyone ever been diagnosed with "urgent" and went in to "emergency" mode? How long did that take and the circumstances (decided to put in a fence prior to surgery vs got up from the chair and "poof" call 911)?

In my case, I was told, "as soon as we can get the tests done" (EMG). So far I haven't received the authorizations for the procedure and it could be another week, to get the go ahead, much less the test set up. My job is also office/girl Friday in a family owned business that requires me in the office if my brother is gone or visa versa. Lots of sitting, at the counter standing taking orders, lots of going out to the steel shop to check on orders or inventory.

3 factors of delaying for me (besides the fear factor and still hoping I wake up and I'm all better) are:

Next weekend a large annual meeting approx 10hour round trip (with someone else driving me and trust me this is the least of my planning issues, trying to get out of it if I can) where I give a presentation. I still laugh at the thought when I can barely type, talk, or function at this point, that my co-members are trying to get me to this meeting. My answer continues to be no, no, and really? Have you seen me lately?

A wedding taking place in 2 weeks, where my brother gives away his daughter.

Caretaker planning issues for myself and 2 big German Shepherds. Convenience factor for the person that takes me on, is 4 weeks out (a sister with family, that will leave them all behind for 2 weeks if she get them off to the first days of school, then hubby will handle it from there. He is quite capable, but IF possible...the timing would be awesome for her, if NOT possible, she is on her way STAT).


  • I haven't had that so no specific info to provide. However the word "urgent" makes me think - you need to have it done as soon as it can be arranged. And I think say if they wanted to do it next week and you really want to go to the wedding, you could ask if it would do any damage to wait another week? I just would talk to my surgeon honestly - he's the most up on what the "urgency" is due to I would think. Good luck!
  • bookcatbbookcat United States Posts: 66
    The university consultant I saw for an opinion told me that "urgent" or emergent meant days to a week, emergency was as you describe it, and elective means that you have a choice and the surgery can be weeks to months away. I saw another university surgeon (different school) who said that the time frame for my "elective"surgery was 3 weeks or less.

    Very good luck to you and please keep us updated when you can. You are not alone.

    2-level ACDF (C5-7) scheduled for 8/6/12
    3 PLIFs (L2-5): 2003, 2005, 2008
    PLIF L1-3 6/13
    ACDF (C5-7) 8/12
    PLIF (L2-5) 2003/05/08
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