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Update from Ortho Surgeon Second opinion. May change from my neuro to this orhto!!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hey everyone,

Well I saw the Ortho Surgeon yesterday. I actually felt way more comfortable in that office then in my neuros office. I had seen this OS in February but I had just had surgery by the NS (foraminotomy C 3-4 4-5) so the OS would not comment to much and said it was to early after surgery.

...I thought the appointment went well. The PA came in first and explained right out of the gate about the results from the diskogram I had. No one from any docs office I go to ever sat down and explained what it meant. My Mom was with me and we were totally impressed with the way things were handeled. The PA went on to do an extensive bunch of neurological tests...more then my Neuro ever did. There was concern from the PA about the arm weakness I am having.
The PA went on the explain the ACDF 2 level C 4-5 and C 5-6 to me in great depth and detail. We were once again very impressed with the time that was taken to explain all this stuff to us.

When the Ortho Surgeon came in he asked and answered questions just like his PA had done and then did another even more thourogh(sp) neurological eval. All these little evaluations sent me into a whirlwind of pain and weaknes and burning and I expressed this to the Ortho. The Ortho was kind of shocked it seemed at the amount of weakness in the left arm. Both the Ortho and PA did tell me I needed the ACDF 2 level and that my symptoms do corralate with the positive discogram.

The ortho surgeon asked if I had a recent EMG since my Foraminotomy in Jan of this year. I said no but that I did have a positive one back in oct. SO they tracked that down and then said they wanted a new one.

Before I go any further. I want to say that way back a year ago right after the accident on July 10th 2007, I had inquired to my GP, my PM and my Neuro that I was concerned about the T-spine and shoulder. They finally after much begging from me did an MRI of the t-spine but never the shoulder. Everyone kept telling me there was no reason for it. I figured they were the Docs so they are not concerned so I wont be.

Well back to the appointment. The OS asks me if anyone has ever ruled out a rotator cuff issue and I told him what I just expained above. I was happy to hear he was ordering the MRI to rule that out. I hope they do not find anything else wrong with me becuase I have aready been through so much...before this car accident I was on workers comp for a wrist and elbow injury that ended up lasting 3 1/2 years and 4 surgeries later. I got all better got off all meds and was pain free!! Then 3 weeks later I am in this car accidnet with a new injury. I just don't know what I would do if there is an injury to that shoulder. I have always in the back of my mind wondered about it.

Anyway. I did like this Ortho better then my Neuro. I found the patient and staff right from the receptionist to the Dr. himself to be very friendly. I found that the detailed explainations of everything was so helpful. Everything on my list of questions was answered without having to be asked. The only things I asked were things that came up during the discussion.

Well If any of you all know anything about neck injuries...ACDF for
C 4-5 C 5-6 or for any shoulder injuries please share your stories with me.

I told the Ortho how I have been waking up in the mornings...I wake with severe burning from my neck all the way down into my scapula and out to the Bicep area of my left arm. I told him of how it take 15 minutes to get out of the bed and how the pain can make me cry. He listened more then my neuro. I actually feel like my Neuro has not taken the time to really listen to me like this practice did.

The ortho seemed extreemly concerned about the weakness in the left arm. He asked me which of my symptoms ae the most bothersome to me..if it was mostly neck pain?? I told him the constant burning in the neck and scapula takes a toll on me but that the arm numbness, tingling, and weakness is very scarey to me.
When I left I felt that I came away from the appointment with a better understanding of what is going on with my neck, and relief that they were going to look into the shoulder.

If there needs to be any further surgeries I feel this Ortho Surgeon would better suit me. Don't get me wrong the Neuro is the best in the field in this area, but I do not get the feeling that he really listened to me. I mean for months he was telling me he did not like to do fusions on people my age. I will be 39 in December. COme to find out at our last visit with him (the Neuro) ...I asked him flat out do you think I am in my 20's and he said he did :jawdrop: ..hello how could he think that when it is right there in my file. I understand why he could think that. People have told me that I do look young for my age and the fact that I am in college he may have just assumed I was in my 20's. But still...Give me a break-- that is just not cool it is right in my file.
Even my Mom and I after seeing the Ortho felt that the Neuro just kind of brushed off some of the complaints of the symptoms I have been having. He sent me for the Pain Psych eval for surgery, and was sort of shocked when he read the Pain Psuch thought I was a fair to good candidate for surgery!

I guess I have rambled and vented enough now. It was good to write/type about it becuase now I have something to compare the treatment from the neuros office too....the ortho's. The level of patient car and information was so much more dedicated to listening and informing the patient why would I want to go back to the Neuro.
This Ortho has a very long list of credentials and has done some schooling at U C Davis spine center in Califorina and he still is doing research in spine surgery and care with that university.

SO my friends. Despite waking up in severe pain, I am feeling like I am finally being taken seriously and that my care has or is going to be entering a new level of treatment! This is good. The only thing is I am still living in awful amounts of pain. I have a 12 step recovery event that I want to attend on Sunday for as long as I can stand it so the plan is to lay around and read and make jewelry today and tomorrow!!

Thanks for reading this long long post. I welcome all thoughts, suggestion, and constructive criticisim as long as it is done with love and compassion.

Chrissy :)


  • Great job and congratulations on taking your care into your own hands! What a joy it is when we can find a doc who can speak our language and professionally do what needs to be done. It is way too easy for us to discount our intuitions and bodily sensations and I am just glad you were persistent enough to follow through. I too feel that when we get a confirmation then at least it makes the pain more bearable even if it doesn't take it away. It seems that often in my life just the acknowledgment that someone understands lessens the load. I just read the book "My Stroke Insight" and found it very helpful along these lines though it is about a young woman who has a stroke and her walk toward recovery.

    Anyway, enjoy the days as best you can and when and if another surgery is planned you will be ready now!

  • Chrissy,
    Hope that you can now make the choices you need to make to get on the road to recovery. What a difference another set of eyes make in looking at a problem from a different angle. Good luck and hope you feel better soon.Keep up the 12 step, I have been doing the same for 14 years.

  • hi,your post very interesting.the neck and shoulder issue,i had c3 thru c7 fused i have had problems with my shouler for 9 years,everyone thought it was neck related.well my nero sent me for an mri and it was the rotator cuff.(torn) it's hard to say since most people with neck issues also have shoulder problems as well. it's great to hear that you like your ortho, most of us spineys a close in the age range-that have had surgery. my firstsurgery i was 32. sorry about your ordeal with the 6 surgeries, man that's alot. i had 3 and it was enough. hope you feel better.. michelle
  • It's great that you found an orthopedic surgeon who takes you seriously and you trust. That's usually more than half the battle! I saw 2 neurosurgeons and one ortho surgeon before finding a neurosurgeon who I trusted enough to do my ACDF for C4-5 and 5-6. (The surgery and recovery weren't nearly as bad as the symptoms pre-surgery.) I had that terrible burning in my upper back and the pain, weakness and numbness in my arms and hands. My legs also felt like they were made of lead and we weren't sure if that was part of the neck problem or my lumbar problem (I have scoliosis and a herniated L5/S1). Now, 6 months after ACDF surgery, the upper body problems and the heaviness in my legs are mostly just bad memories. My lower back is still a mess, but I don't want another surgery again this soon so am looking for other options.

    Please keep us posted on what's going on with your shoulder, too. It could be part of the neck problem or it could be something completely different. Take care...
  • Hello everyone,

    Thanks for all the support!

    I am happy with the orthos surgeons office, but I will wait until I have all the other testing in place and make the final decision as to which doctor I will continue with form here on out.

    I am leaning much more towards having the Ortho surgeon addressing any other issues I will need treated.

    Interesting that many neck people have shoulder problems as well.
    I have heard that rotator cuff surgery is a tough surgery.

    it seem that it could be one way or the other. It may just the neck or both the neck and shoulder. If it turns out to be both I will be pretty devastated! I just have been through so much in 4 years I have many days wher my mind and emotions are really stuggling to stay grounded. I always seem to manage one way or another but it is very overwhelming.

    I will for sure keep you all updated as to when the appointments are set and what the results are. In the meantime I will jsut try to continue to take it very very easy and rest as much as possible.

  • chrissy,

    i am worried that my legs won't get better. they are very weak and SO heavy in the morning. did you have that and it went away? did your doc tell you the fusion could ruin your adjacent disks? we have similiar symptoms but mine is c5-7 with myelopothy.
    glad to hear you had a successfull story. how much pain was it when you woke up? and after?
  • Hi chrissy, i do not know if you read my post as to my shoulder surgery scheduled. I was having the same problems as you. my neuro was excellent, but did not seem to take all my symptoms seriously as I would have liked. finally went back to my appt. for my ortho an has scheduled my rotary cuff surgery Aug. 21st. he said he wanted to get this taken care of. I was teary eyed in his office, and told him i was very upset, that no one has laid a hand on me, that i was in pain and hurt all the time. i am so weak!from my legs , and especially my arms, and left arm, which is the side for the rotary cuff tear. i reminded him that i originally had came to PC dr. for shoulder pain, and trouble reaching for things without pain going on 2 yrs. now. i am wondering if it has torn more? needless to say he really listened to me, i wish he did spines. I told my husband. He told me by doing shoulder first , it COULD relieve some pain from neck. He told me he is not going to lie to me, it is painful. the shoulder is very tender. I will be in a arm sling for 6 wks. , NO driving.
    So on Sept. 4th i go back to NS for appt. So mine is basically a wait and see game. I am probably looking at surgery for my neck after this. I am in for a long road ahead i believe. but i am like everyone else on here, looking to get my life back. So CHRISSY i hope you get some answers on your shoulder like i did? did you say you have an MRI on your shoulder scheduled?? i hope so. and GOOD LUCK and let me know. take care LEO
  • Hey everyone,

    Thanks for all the replies!

    Had MRI on shoulder and I did not see anything that would suggest that there is any tearing in the rotator cuff. SO good news on that..I think. I am not the doc so we shall se what the Neuro and Orhto say. the MRI report does mention there is a lot of fluid in certain areas and bursitis which may be the reason for the burning pain under the scapular area. Who knows. Here is a list of up coming tests and appointments

    Aug 1--EMG

    AUG 4--PM doc appt. tried to get in the other day but he is out of town.

    Aug 8--go an review all the testing with the Neuro.

    Aug 14--go back to the Orhto Surgeon and see what his view is on all the new tests.

    In a perfect world I wwould hope that the we will be ready to move forward with surgery on my Neck (2 level ACDF C 3-4 4-5.) I do not have a clue what the Ortho or Neuro will say about the shoulder.

    I am hoping they do not suggest going to PT because I tried it a while back and I am teeling you it elevated my pain to the point where I was unable to leave my house and do anything.

    At this time I am already in so much pain. I cried and sobbed myself to sleep last night because I am so tired physically and emoitionaly. I feel like I am tapped out!!!

    Right at the moment I have no drive to do anything but stay home and make sure the cats are fed~~~the plants don't die~~~and that I am fed and rested.

    Please pray for me. I feel like a bit of the saddness and darkness is starting to flow in as it does sometimes.

    On top of everything...in order to keep my health insurance with the school I need to proceed in planning as if I will attend college in 30 days. I need to make an appt. with the disabilities person on Monday morning. I forgat to call on Friday. My thinking is really scatterbrained because of the high pain levels. To explain all about the health insurance would take too much typing for me so just trust me when I say I have the quirkiest health ins. that pays very little and has funky rules and is paid for in 4 month incriments pertinent to a semester. You are only allowed to have a four month break and because I did not take a summer class my four month break is up in Sept. even though I just paid for another 4 months. I still need to plan to attend school untill I have surgery. I also only have a prescription discount card so I pay out the WHA--ZOO!!! for my meds.
    That's the nest I can sum it up in a short way.

    I would usually go on and post to others and check up on some who have recently had surgeries or who have been having their own rough times~~~but I just need to go climb back into my bed this morning. So please know that I am thinking of you all and praying for everyone.

    Leocat--I am praying that the shoulder thing will relieve enough of your pain that you wont need to go on with yet another surgery on the neck. If that is the case Your in my thooughts and prayers.

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