I have been dealing with lower back pain going on 7 years now. I have been taking a few medications that allow me to live a somewhat normal life. I did not have insurance last year due to not being able to afford it. During that time my back pain had increased, and so did my desire to "get my life back". Since the first of the year I have been trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle(s) together and prepare for surgery.
Initially (7 years ago) I went to see 2 neurosurgeons, and 1 orthopedic surgeon. The first neurosurgeon stated that I would need a fusion, the second stated that he could not help me. The orthopedic surgeon told me to "deal with it as long as I can, and when I get to that "point" to come back and see him and he will fix it.
During the initial time frame I had two "blind" epidural injections that had NO help whatsoever. Then I was referred to a "pain management" office where I had a fluoroscopic guided epidural. The procedure went fine, and I left there Happy hoping that it would relieve the pain. Later that night I started to have "severe" pain that put me in the fetal position trying to relieve it. I ended up passing out due to the pain, and woke up with "normal" pain levels. I went directly to their office and spoke with the Dr, he did not know what could of happened but wanted for me to keep the next injection scheduled. The pain level remained the same "normal" pain until the next epidural appointment, and I met with the Dr. and he stated that he did Not want to do another injection (due to the previous outcome). He sat and talked with me for around 45 minutes and answered Alot of questions that I had. I also had failed chiropractic, and physical therapy just prior to this.
Fast forward up until the last year and a half I have been dealing with the pain, and it was somewhat controllable. Then I started having increased pain levels and leg pain. Numbness would present itself in the right leg along with pains running down it, along with a burning feeling in my low back when I overdid it. I had another MRI done and it revealed the same as the first a "annular tear and bulged disc". Then I went back to the Orthopedic surgeon that seemed to care, that answered my initial questions; and he recommended a traditional "spinal fusion" at l5-s1. I have always been the type to get a second or 3rd opinion, and try to weigh out the pros and cons.
I went to another neurosurgeon that a customer of mine (and my new pain Dr.) recommended and he spoke nicely of the previous surgeon and recommended a MIS TLIF . He stated that a traditional fusion would do the job, but the TLIF would reduce recovery time and healing which I need due to being self employed. Then he sent me back to my pain management Dr for a discogram. This was done, and I did not know which disc(s) they were injecting pressure/dye into. The result was a pain level of 9/10 at l5-s1 with a grade IV fissure, with most of the dye outside of the disc.
I followed up with the neurosurgeon and he agreed with his previous recommendations of a MIS TLIF. I was somewhat scared going from here, but I gained confidence in my surgeon by speaking with him. Over the past few weeks I have been asked for all kinds of medical records. I pretty much have 95% of my records for the past 7 years. My pain has increased after the discogram, so from here I am "determined" to get this behind me, my only concern is loss of income from not working (self employed).
Now the insurance company is denying the MIS TLIF (twice) and are "suggesting" a microdiscectomy against the neurosurgeon(s) recommendations of what to do. The surgeon gives me a 95% success on taking care of both back and leg pain with a TLIF, and only a 50% chance of success with the microdiscectomy. I am not a betting man, but I like the % of the TLIF better than the microdiscectomy; and so does the surgeon. It has been mentioned that having to "go back in" would result in a longer healing time, ect...
I now sit here posting this, and trying to write a 3-4 page letter to the insurance company in the form of an appeal to hopefully reverse their decision. I also am including additional notes from the previous Dr(s) recommendations.
Has anyone been through this or anything similar?
Has anyone had a microdiscectomy that repaired back and leg pain?
Has anyone dealt with the INS company in a similar situation?
Is the MIS TLIF the way to go? (I think so)
Does anyone have any other suggestions??
Ps: Additional information is available, as I am sure I have missed a few things; but I didn't want to make it too long where at the end of it you do not care to respond. Thank You