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Presurgery counciling

DavidGDDavidG Posts: 586

Another sleepless night as I sit here and answer new questions some from new members fixing to join our journey. After research, I found out that 80-90% of all people that undergo any major spinal surgery undergo deep depression following their surgery! It kind of makes me wonder why no one is given counciling PRIOR to surgery. I know that no 2 patients are alike during the recovery phase, but I also know that there are certain traits we all share. Yes we ALL have major life changes following surgery and we all end up reinventing ourselves. I truly believe surgical outcomes would be be more successful if therapy and counciling would be given before the surgery! I ask this question for future research as well as sharing the outcomes with others. Ron and Sandra, the outcome of this can be forwarded to Veritas. Who knows, it might help others, and change the way spinal surgery is done with better outcomes!



  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 861
    DavidG  - I agree with your idea and I agree that pre-surgery counseling would make a lot of sense.
    I've been through three ACDFs and each one was different.  In reality, it appears the only counseling one can get is from the experiences of other people that have been through a similar surgery or from a psychologist/psychiatrist.
    If anyone has had a different experience, I love to hear about it.
  • DavidG

    I actually recommended to my surgeon that he have 1-2 sessions per month where either he or one of his PA'S and past surgical patients get together with first time surgical patients and answer questions and let them know some of the things that they might expect, I see so many members come here with nerve pain that has come back after surgery, we all know that is a very good possibility after surgery, but you are not told about it before surgery and it freaks you out. My surgeon is still discussing this with me from time to time but so far no real action. I really don't think most doctors do a very good job of telling patients what to expect after surgery, and I think that would be very helpful, it would also probably cut down on calls to the office with patients freaked out.


    Spine-Health Moderator

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  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 861
    challenger - Unfortunately,, most surgeons do not have good communication skills.  I'm not implying that we as patients shouldn't try to engage them in conversation.  Sometimes, the surgeon's PAs or support staff are better at communications.  Another angle, if the surgical practice is part of a hospital, it works sometimes to ask for counseling services via social work.  Every place is different.  One has to be their own advocate.
  • I believe that most of us that have dealt with ongoing chronic pain also deal with depression whether we acknowledge it or not. It's almost inevitable if you're dealing with debilitating pain. I think that many chronic pain sufferers can benefit from antidepressants but there is so much stigma attached to them that a lot of folks won't even consider trying them. Just my two cents. 

  • Lollipop, your 100% correct. That’s why I’m a firm believer that pre surgery counseling should be done prior to surgery and not wait until we’re in a full blown depression. A lot of people and members don’t realize that the true definition of a successful spinal surgery is “stabilization “ It doesn’t include the chronic pain, depression, and the ongoing treatments that will be needed. Patients think I’ll be as good as new after this surgery are in for a surprise! Most surgeons give us false hope in the true outcomes! That’s why I believe counciling should be mandatory prior to spinal surgeries......David

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  • I agree whole heartedly with this.  It's strange while in the hospital I was asked if I attended the pre-spinal surgery class.  I was never told about one.  If there was something like that available I certainly would have attended.  Post-op depression could also be addressed in that class.  While I am recovering from a 5 level PCDF I have to keep off my HRT--talk about a emotional disaster waiting to happen!  I already suffer from depression so without my hormones I'm on a roller coaster in hell. 

    There certainly is a learning curve in our recoveries!


  • Fi, that’s whats great about this site! There are certain things that are usually predictable following these surgeries. Secondly, there is usually another member on 24 hours a day due to sleeping habits. So when you have a question or a concern, you normally get a quick response....David

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