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Average time till surgery

From the time surgery is recomended until you get rolled into surgery, is there an average time or is it petty much all over the map?

I know the longer a you wait to get serious decompression and free up your spine the lessor your chances are for a fuller recovery.

Any thoughts on this?


  • To surgery varies on where you are, maybe on who is your insurer, and of course on the urgency of your situation. When I had my first fusion in 2008, it took about two months before I made up my mind, finished with getting additional opinion, and agreed on a time. This past month, I had a consultation with my OS (the same who did my previous surgery) on August 2, and had the fusion on Aug. 14, as I just wanted to be over it. Now I am very glad I did, and it is behind me.
  • On July 3rd, was initially scheduled for surgery on Sept. 12th but surgery was moved up to August 22nd when my NS got the results back from the neck X-ray he ordered ASAP to confirm my MRI findings.

    Then It was a whirlwind - a ton of blood work, including a full Rheumatology work up (suspected RA and Lupus, both negative), EKG, chest X-ray, shoulder MRI, another neck X-ray to make sure that the results from two weeks prior were accurate (that changed my surgery from a three level to a four level), two appointments with my NS, and one appt with my orthopedist, plus a day at the hospital for all of the pre-OP paperwork and more tests.

    My NS's office obtained pre-authorization from my insurance company in record time.
    4 level ACDF, C3-C7 with iliac bone crest graft with hardware on August 22nd.
  • After my second consultation with the Neurologist on July 17th, the first available date was July 30th. However, due to me not being quite ready, work, family obligations etc., I selected Aug 11th instead.
    Regarding the wait to have the procedure performed and the potential for a positive outcome, my initial MRI indicating an issue, dated back to 2002. By 2008 my issues had progressed beyond S-1 to include both L-5 & 4. However, I chose to pursue the conservative approach i.e. core strengthening & chiropractic including the Disc Pump and decompression machines. It wasn't until about Spring of this year that the less evasive avenues ceased to work. I'd been a candidate for fusion since 2007 however, I wasn't ready mentally to go that route.
    I'm now 5+ weeks post op and doing pretty well. According to my Dr., walking is the BEST rehabilitation and I'm at about 2-3 miles / day. Even during the first couple of weeks post op, I was walking about 1 mile a day. Some pain is still present however, this could be the incision and or the muscles cut to access the spine. At any rate, I feel fortunate so far
    regarding the healing process. Everything points in a positive direction.
    So in answer to the second part of your question, it may not be an issue regarding full recovery if you elected to wait?
    I hope this helps!
    Good luck with your potential procedure.

    Bilateral L5 spondylolysis L5 with grade I anterolisthesis L5-S1.
    Stable multilevel degenerative spondylosis contributing to mild canal
    narrowing L2-3 and L3-4.
    360 ALIF & PLIF L-4 - S-1 on 8/11/14
  • Mine happened fast. I was referred to a neurosurgeon for a consultation after an orthopedic doc ordered an MRI that showed herniation. I did some research so I expected surgery was a strong possibility. What I didn't expect was for the surgeon to want to do it in FOUR DAYS. My appointment was on a Thursday and he wanted to operate on a Monday. As I live alone and have no close family around I had to get my mom and dad to drive 400 miles on short notice to be with me. (I'm so lucky my mom and dad are wonderful!)

    The doc said my arm and shoulder were pretty weak and the longer we waited the less the chance of strength returning because of permanent nerve damage, so I went ahead with it quickly. Now I'm 11 days out from surgery and so happy with the results. This was much less painful that I expected. Other than perhaps the first two days, any post-surgical pain has been much less than the nerve pain I was experiencing before. I felt dramatically better on the third day, and better still on each subsequent day. After Day 6 I was almost entirely off narcotics. (I say ALMOST entirely off because I actually did take a percocet last night. I was feeling so good yesterday that I really overdid it and was hurting a bit last night, and still sort of sore this morning.)

    I had my first post-op appointment this morning and things are progressing as they should be. Doctor still doesn't want me driving too much but said it's OK to make short trips to the grocery store and such. Although getting grocery bags in would be a whole other story since I'm still not allowed to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk! (That's how I overdid it yesterday. I had help available so we went for a major shopping trip. I had help lifting all the heavy stuff but the shopping trip, putting away groceries and going out to lunch after pretty much wore me out!)

    I hope that everyone on this message board has as easy a time with surgery as I did. I really can't complain. I am very lucky and I hope you are, too!
    C5/6 herniation, type 2 diabetes, generalized anxiety disorder
  • I pushed my first microD from surgeon consultant to surgery to 4 months because of my family circumstances. The second MicroD was consult on the Tues & surgery the following Mon. My fusion was 4 weeks from consult to surgery (that was the earliest surgeon could operate).

    I had issues for about 4 years before my herniation was diagnosed (my fault, I thought there was something going on with my hamstring & never got it checked out until it was unbearable).I'm still early into my fusion recovery at 7 weeks post op but wouldn't be surprised if I have some permanent nerve damage. In hindsight I would have had the first MicroD earlier.

    Microdiscectomy L5S1 January 2014
    Microdiscectomy L5S1 March 2014
    Fusion L5S1 11th August 2014
  • Although it took almost a month from the time I was referred to the NS to the actual appointment, there was only a 2 week gap between my initial appointment and my surgery. I had spinal compression issues that was causing problems in my neck. The NS only put it out for 2 weeks to get time for insurance to approve and to work in the pre op appointment. It was almost delayed because of my PCP but it ended up staying the same date in the end
    Tracie C
  • I had originally seen the neurosurgeon in July and we had agreed that surgery would probably benefit me, but there was no rush since Ionly had slight weakness in the left leg and was getting around fine with a cane. We had discussed surgery in 2-3 months time.

    At the end of August, i had a fall and ended up with complete foot drop on the right in addition to the weakness on the left. Saw my Neurosurgeon on September 11th, and had my surgery on September 30th.
  • For my first surgery it was 10 days because it was urgent and usually my surgeon can get her patients in within2-5 days from being told. My last 2 surgeries I personally made a choice to wait for a month.
  • bcinncbbcinnc Posts: 21
    edited 10/07/2014 - 9:37 AM
    The time for my spinal decompression (L4-5) would have been about 2 weeks from my first visit to the neurosurgeon, except I had a broken foot that needed to heal, then I fell and broke my shoulder and had to wait for that the heal. Needless to say, I felt like the guy from Hee Haw.."If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."...finally got healed, opted for surgery after Labor Day (Sept 3) so I could take a quick beach visit. I am 41/2 weeks out and doing well. Before I visited the NS I had multiple visits to my primary care doctor who had ordered a stat MRI.
  • My surgery is scheduled for October 30th. I saw my surgeon October 15th. So on October 30 it will only be 15 days.
    L5-S1 Emergency PLIF Revision May 26th 2015
    L5-S1 PLIF May 22nd 2015.
    L5-S1 Discectomy Feb 27th 2015.
    L5-S1 Discectomy Oct 30th 2014.
  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 359
    Things go a little differently here, I believe. I suffered the injury March 3, 2014. I approve of conservative measures to begin with, because if you can recover without surgery that is best, in my opinion. BUT you do have to push for action here, my family doctor got me an apptmt for an MRI no sooner than July 3 (4 months out). Thankfully, a family member who works in spinal injury research got me squeezed in for an MRI April 26 (almost 2 months out). Results indicated a severe rupture that required surgery, and I had to wait on my family Dr. to refer me to a surgeon. The best he could do was get me an apptmt with an orthopedic surgeon August 18 (5+ months out). In the meantime, my family member got me a consult with a colleague of hers, a neurosurgeon, July 10. He said he would do a discectomy and it would be in 6-8 weeks. I went ahead with all the pre-op and waited...still waiting :( Had a surgery date for tomorrow morning, but got a call a couple of days ago to say it would be post-poned. In the meantime, I followed through with the orthopedic consult, who recommended a spinal fusion, with a 4-8 month waiting list. Again, I got the pre-op done for that one, getting myself prepped for either surgery and doing my investigation in the meantime about which surgery to go through with. I also saw 2 spine surgeons from Germany, who recommended a disc replacement in their facilities overseas with a $40,000 price tag. I have spent a lot of time these past months researching options, fine-tuning prescriptions, going to physiotherapy, aquacise 3x week, resting as needed - all (hopefully) giving me the best chance at eventual recovery. My suggestion is, don't rush into anything! Allow yourself the time to research fully what your options are. At the very least, giving yourself a little more time to recover without surgical interventions. I know it's hard especially when the pain is just unrelenting and excruciating, but don't let the pain cloud your judgement.
  • I saw my neuro on Monday 11/17 and he scheduled me for tomorrow 11/21 due to the pain, thankful the neuro cares and actually called the hospital to get me in ASAP, kinda worried due to being my first surgery and hoping all goes well.......gues I'll be happy about 24 hrs from now as surgery is at 4:00pm so hoping its over and am on the road to no pain
    Spinal stenosis with neurogenic clauducation
    3 level retrolisthesis
    Bilateral Laminectomy/Discectomy surgery l3/l4 on 11-21-14 (failed)
    L3/l4 spinal Fusion 03-20-15
  • From the time of injury to my surgery was 11months and 6 days. However that was mainly because I had to combat with WC bs and then find a surgeon that 1. Wanted to touch my back and 2. Not want to jump right to a fusion. Once I found my surgeon it was 5 weeks from my initial consult with his PA to surgery, I went into that appointment with the PA thinking I would be told more of the same, just continue pt and injections and to live with it, however the PT asked if I had a preference to which doctor did my surgery and when I said I had researched one at that practice but whoever was avaiable would be fine. He then came back in and said that my soon to be surgeon was coming in to see me between surgeries and I was scheduled before I left that initial appointment. Both the PA and the Dr wanted to know why I hadn't had surgery before this point, and when I told him that I was told either to live with it or fusion was my only option but the dr that said this wouldn't do it because of my age they thought it was crazy. I had a microdisectomy and foaminotomy on L4-5 on 9/17/14, and while I am glad I didn't jump right to fusion I now fear that I may need one in the not so distant future. :(
  • I had my MRI on Dec 2, my doc called me in a panic on Dec 3 since he discovered my all progressive all 4 limb 'weakness' was spinal cord compression with a resulting contusion. He sent me to the ER where the neurosurgeon was at (to skip pre-certification with insurance) and surgery originally scheduled for Friday. I left the hospital Thursday though, for a second opinion which was later that day, and that doc scheduled surgery for the following Monday.

    ACDF w/Corpectomy C3-6 12/8/14 ; Laminectomy C3-6  5/19/2016

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