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Operation in The Netherlands

Hello again!

I am approaching my two level lumbar fusion consult. I will be an American getting spinal surgery in the Netherlands. Has anyone else been through this in Europe? I feel a bit in the dark, and not speaking Dutch doesn't help. I am afraid of getting this surgery, but I can no longer take care of myself, so I guess it's time to go for it anyway. I have family close by to help me with recovery, and I will be moving back to the states in another 6 months. I would wait until I was back, if I could handle the pain or lack of mobility.

Anyway, if you have any advice, please drop me a line.



  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 731
    Just like anywhere in the world I'm sure that in the The Netherlands there are very good spine surgeons/hospitals and others that are not so good. Even though you don't speak Dutch I would make every effort to find a surgeon/hospital that you are 100% comfortable with... including how the language barrier is handled. Fusion surgery is a MAJOR surgery and it's important that you fully understand as much as possible and are absolutely comfortable with what and why the surgeon is going to do to your body and why he/she picked that procedure/option. If the surgeon won't take the time to help your knowledge and understanding as well as to answer your questions and doubts regardless of the language barrier... then you need to find another surgeon. The recovery for fusion surgery is no walk in the park... it's not like getting your tonsils out... and can take MANY months. Some people are lucky and manage 90% recovery in 3-4 weeks... but for most it's multiple months of slow healing and recovery. So be sure you are fully prepared and understand this in advance. Some obvious questions to ask are.... What happens if your family can't be with you after 6 months... what is plan B?? What if you are not physically able to pack-up and move back to the US after 6 months.. what is plan B?? A real life complication that comes up sometimes in fusion surgery is lack of fusion. You probably won't know this until after 6 months... who are you going to see?? Don't under estimate the recovery process... both physically and mentally...it's probably the toughest health issue/recovery you will face in your life to date.
    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
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