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Surgery decision

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have a re-herniated disc at L5-S1. Prior rupture was Oct2006. Had successful discectomy/laminotomy Dec 2006. Returned to full duty EMS work April 2007. Things had been going good until five weeks ago, when moving an obese patient, I hurt my back again.

Have had x-ray and MRI & five weeks of no work. MRI clearly revealed big herniation at L5-S1, same area as my 2006 injury. At onset had lots of pain in right buttock.

My doctor is suggesting fusion at 5-1. Thinks this would be the best way to go, especially with my physically demanding work. I'm nervous about fusion and the long recovery.

I did get a second opinion (at my doctor's suggestion). The 2nd opinion doctor says he would not do the fusion, since I'm no longer in great pain and do not have any neuro problems/symptoms. This doctor is thinking that I should wait twelve weeks, with phys therapy and then see how things are doing, maybe another MRI.

In a few days I will have to make a decision about what to do. I just don't know what to do. The workers comp insurance guy is putting pressure on me to decide what to do. I am willing to give up EMT/EMS work to avoid fusion surgery, if it came down to that. Any thoughts? Thanks...


  • It's what I did. I was hurt in a car accident in August and did everything non-surgically I could. Then the doctor's said "there's nothing more we can do for you, you need to see a surgeon" so I did and the first one wanted to fuse 3 levels and I didn't particularly like him...so I went for a second opinion (the guy KNEW he was my second opinion) and although he was a bit of a jerk..he knew his stuff and he said he would fuse one level only L5...so here I was with two surgeons saying I needed surgery but I didn't like either of them and couldn't make up my mind what to do...so I saw a third one. And I felt comfortable with him and made my appt that day for my fusion.

    I was being pressured by my attorney to either close the case or have surgery. But this decision has to come from you!!! What is best for your life. If you aren't sure go see another surgeon. Keep talking, researching and talking to everyone you can until YOU are ready. This is your decision and you have to be comfortable with it.

    Good Luck!!!!
  • Hi NJem,

    Definitely get a 3rd opinion. Have you started your PT yet? Of course WC is pressuring you because they want to close your file and get rid of you.

    I am a WC case as well. If you feel you are not ready for surgery, then at least keep you medical file open. Check you state regulations, but here in Florida you can keep your medical file open for life if you go to the dr. every year. My atty. said to be on the safe side keep gong back to your dr. every 8-9 month and complain about your back. That way, God forbid in the future you need to have the fusion surgery your medical case will still be open. Once you close your files YOU ARE FINISHED AND OFFICIALLY SCREWED.

    Whatever you do, if you need more time to consider something so drastic as fusion, do not let WC push you to make that decision, it is your body and you know how much you can tolerate, but let them pay for your PT and if you need another round of PT let them pay for that too. If you need devices around the house to assist you, let them pay for that and remember check with your state to see what the guidelines are in order to keep you medical case OPEN.

    Trust me, I know what I'm talking about. Been dealing with 2 different WC companies since 2002, but finally had and injury that forced me to have fusion surgery in January. My l5 colapsed.

    please do your homework and don't let them bully you around. They think this is all a game. You now need to get your game book rolling!

    let me know if I can help in any other way.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
    What ever you decide on your surgery, be sure to let your attny. know you want lifetime medical on your back. don't settle for any less. I needed work done on mine 13 yrs. latter. and if you have your own med. insurance, don't drop it. Your now uninsurable.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Thanks for the info and suggestions. I think I am going to tell my doctor I want to start some PT and give my back 12 weeks. Not sure how this will effect the workers comp claim. I live in NJ,have to learn about my workers comp rights. I do not have an attorney. And I did not have one for my first injury. Things went smoothly for my first injury, so I didn't think I needed a lawyer. Now maybe thinking I should call a lawyer for a consult?
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