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Why do the surgeons not tell us what to expect after operartion?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I recently read someone said they someone had a failed microdistemony!!! :??
Does anyone know what that is and how they know it has failed?

It does seem generally that surgeons do not tell us what to expect after the operation.
I have read so many things that happen after, on the message boards, which I find totally conflicting and feel really confused about.

It says nothing about nerves healing or hurting more after surgery than before or leg pain still being there. On the doctors forum.
I can't find any thing about all this stuff, only about the surgery.

Why do the surgeons not put this information on their site to help us? I read all the articles written by the doctors on microdisectomy.

Instead people seem to be confused and worried about their surgery . Thinking they are going to be coming out of hospital, thinking they are going to be without the pain they went in with? Like me totally disillusioned !Am I just not understanding all this? :/ Anyone?


  • I know it is really confusing but really with surgery there are sooo many variables. Each patient is different, each condition is different, each way a Dr works is different.

    All they can do is give a generlisation as to what to expect. My O/S said that I would loose the numbness from my feet and legs- at least 90% better and he was right. It is pretty well 99% better. :)
    He also said that with the back pain, he hoped would improve by 50% which again is pretty right though some days it is still worse but I am still healing. :)

    The other thing is that it is so easy for us to be influenced by what ifs?
    What if I do have more pain in my legs?
    what if this? or
    what if that?
    It is so easy for us to fall into and create more problems for ourselves then we had to begin with. But if we go into surgery assuming that everything is gong to be great then we have a better chance of that happening.

    Drs are very aware of how important a positive attitude is when we go through surgery and recovery so I for one do not want to hear a lot of doom and gloom.
    The anesthetist spent an hour before surgery talking to me about what was going to happen (it was a very long surgery 12+ hrs) so he wanted me to be aware that I would have a ventilator in when I woke, would be in ICU and very swollen. I apprecieated hearing this and he said it would all be temporary.
    He did it in a way that was matter of fact but dont worry about it so I didn't and I was grateful that he was so open.

    Now if I had heard, just be aware that you will wake up in terrible pain and you may have more numbness in your legs and the fusion may never take and we may have to remove the hardware one day etc etc - I would have gone into theatre in not a good state at all :O .

    And really, most of the posts you read here are from people who have had problems and not the much larger % who haven't.

    Sorry to ramble so much but I hope that helps you

    Sara O:)

  • Angelback said:
    ...... But if we go into surgery assuming that everything is gong to be great then we have a better chance of that happening.

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  • Hi

    I agree with angleback :D

    You need to be clear on the risks, ready for any surprises but strong and focused on your end point.

    My own story is not a success (yet) but the YET is the key!!

    They should be able to give you generalised expectations. The msg boards have alot of ppl pre-surgery and those of us who are "ongoing" troubles (yet!) so we share worries.

    I read about sore legs post fusion surgery and knees and actually found it was positive to realise it was a kinda normal - stretched nerves during surgery.

    Catheter - not really explained, bending for solid toilet needs (get a raised seat!!)

    pre -op assessment - get one of the specialist nurses to run through with you so it isn't quite so scarey. Good Luck
  • They don't tell you because they do not want to alarm you perhaps....maybe.

    One thing I am sure they do tell you is that it is an elective surgery and that there are no guarantees. These doctors are trying their best, hopefully, to correct something that happened to your body. They did not cause the problem in most cases and really do not know exactly what complications they are going to find until they get in there, imaging can only show so much.

    What I wish more doctors would talk to people about is the patients attitude.

    Surgeons are not miracle workers, they are skilled technicians that go into a persons body knowing that each case is going to have variables, each patient is different and will respond differently to every aspect of the surgery down to the anesthetic and all. That is why they do the pre-op appointment, to try and determine the patients health and fitness level etc beforehand.

    What the patient needs to do is to have a more hands on approach to their own health. Sitting back and expecting someone to perform miracles on you is wishful thinking...... that you go in have the surgery, recover for a while and all is good...... and that the surgeons and doctors have to do everything perfectly and that full recovery is a guarantee.

    Does not work like that.

    We need to research our options and our procedure, ASK lot's of questions of our surgeon, actually go into the office with a list of questions so as to not forget anything. We need to do what we can for our own health and well being....exercise, eat well, lose weight, stop smoking, cut back on stuff we know is harmful like alchohol, excessive coffee, junk food, etc etc etc and we need to develop a strong positive attitude about the success of our procedure and the future.

    We also need to stay on top of things like insurance, make calls to the insurance company and perhaps even get in writing that the surgery is approved and that there will not be any surprises as far as getting billed.

    We need to get our affairs in order prior to surgery...pay up on bills, tidy up loose ends, and prepare for the down time.

    Depression is a beeyotch!! If we are trying to have a great mental attitude through a surgery and recovery and are all messed up with bills being late, unexpected charges from the insurance company, some issue coming back that we had not closed .......... etc etc it can lead to bad moods, depression and just feeling low in general and we will have enough of that going on anyway after surgery.

    So my point is, we the patients need to do whatever we can to prepare. It is very important. That way we can leave to real work to the surgical team and give them the best shot at it as well.

    Yeah, some of us are in worse shape than others and perhaps cannot really exercise or lose a lot of weight prior to surgery...perhaps even have one or more other health problems on top of it. There are always those who are worse off than others.

    Not being any sort of an expert at all....... I still maintain that ANYTHING we do for ourselves that gives us a sense that we are making a concerted effort to better our own position... IS a good thing. It might be cutting back on junk food, quitting smoking at least for a month or two before surgery, stopping drinking that beer or three every day, getting up and moving around more, going for short walks, eating healthy, trying to lose even a couple of lb's....anything. If you start feeling better about yourself, you are giving yourself a leg up for your recovery. Have others hold good thoughts for you also.

    Sorry about the long rant.....I really believe in the positive thoughts thing, consciously creating your circumstances.

  • I went into this surgery pretty well prepared...took care of a lot of stuff around the house that is my "job": bills, had the house cleaned, prepared everything for my three dogs, etc.
    I also knew my doctor was very skilled..but also knew he is not a miracle worker. My mental attitude will help my recovery. That is not to say that i didn't have rough times or bouts of crying and feeling sorry for myself..but I am now trying to put that past me. I walk daily (even got a pedometer) and am trying to find a hobby that will keep me busy without physically taxing me!
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  • My theory is that if doctors told us too much before hand that many patients would opt out and not proceed with surgery, which is not in the best interests of the patient if they clearly need surgery (nor in the best interests of the surgeons income).

    Moral of the story is do your homework beforehand - research research research. Don't assume your surgeon will tell you everything you need to know. Don't be afraid to ask your surgeon all the hard questions. Above all, maintain a positive attitude!
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • My doc considers it failed because I am in worse pain now than before surgery. I agree with you in that we would fare much better being prepared post op. But, not everyone has post op pain and problems so maybe they think that they might deter us from surgery when we may not be one that has post op problems. I agree though, I was TOTALLY unprepared after surgery and it was HORRIBLE. Had I known what to expect, I would have had some items available to make recovery alot easier! I could not even get up from sitting or laying position with out help for about 3-4 months. Could not lift my right leg at all, could not twist to use tissue after BM! I was not prepared for any of this and feel the same way that you do about it.
  • Nerve pain takes the longest to heal in my experience which is 4 and an upcoming 5th lower back surgery this Tuesday. My last successful surgery about a year and a half ago, a L5/S1 discectomy for my second herniation there took about 8 or 9 month's until my nerve pain did not bother me much anymore, and it never recovered 100%, probably about 75-80%. After 1 to 3 months it should noticable that it is improving. Now I reherniated there again and am expecting an even longer recovery for the nerves and more permanent nerve damage this time, I'm hoping it can get to about 70% of normal. Any more herniations at L5/S1 and it's fusion time for me.

    I also had one microdiscectomy after my second L5/S1 herniation which was unsuccesful. My pain never improved and after about three months I had an MRI which showed much of the same problem I had before the microdiscectomy, which is when I went to a different hospital and had the successful laminectomy/discectomy. I also had a discectomy for my first herniation at L4/L5 in May and the nerves are still healing from that injury though it has improved a lot and since I herniated L5/S1 again its hard to distinguish between the two.
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