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Getting a second opinion

Hi all,
I am new here and have been dealing with neck pain, radiculopathy with numbness, weakness and bilateral arm pain for the past 4 years. I have had 2 epidurals, 1 facet injection, 2 rounds of physical therapy, tried multiple medications and pain meds. I have been under care of a pain doctor for the past 2 years. I have been diagnosed with DDD, spinal stenosis, bulging discs, foraminal stenosis, facet and uncovetebral joint hypertrophy and radiculopathy. Both my grandfather and my dad also suffered from the same type of spine conditions. My dad has never agreed to surgery and has now become wheelchair bound in the last 2 years. Watching him deteriorate has been really frightening.
I am 48 and have been told that if my dr didn't know my age she would think I was 65 to 70 years old from my MRI films. (yuck!)
I was first referred to a neurosurgeon 2 years ago who wanted to do a 3 level ACDF at C4-C7. At that time I had just started pain management and since I was 46 I decided to wait and see if this pain doc could do anything to help manage my pain. Over the past 2 years my condition has worsened and my pain is worse and now I have symptoms in my right shoulder and arm as well as my left. Dr. recently sent me for a current MRI. It showed a marked progression of my condition. I am now showing stenosis and bone spurring in C2-C3 and C4-C5 which previous MRI showed normal. C4-C7 have all 3 further deteriorated and stenosis which previously had been mild to moderate depending on the level now show as either moderate or severe. Because I am now showing stenosis of the central spinal cord at 3 levels and foraminal stenosis at 5 levels she is referring me to a new neurosurgeon and has told me to also get a second opinion at least.
I have an appointment in a couple weeks with the surgeon recommended by my pain doctor and I'm trying to decide who to go to for a second opinion. All the docs recommended to me are in the same practice as the doctor I already have an appointment with. Do you think I should seek out someone in another neuro group or could I get an objective opinion from a neurosurgeon in the same practice? Thanks so much for any insight!
Kim
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Comments

  • you need to see a pain doctor. surgeons do not manage pain now. ask them for a referral to a pain doctor,make an appointment and see him and there is no guarantee that they will give you meds. there are all sorts of ways to treat pain. did you have injections? therapy?
    jon
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • terror8396 said:
    you need to see a pain doctor. surgeons do not manage pain now. ask them for a referral to a pain doctor,make an appointment and see him and there is no guarantee that they will give you meds. there are all sorts of ways to treat pain. did you have injections? therapy?
    jon
    ??? Not sure I understand, I am currently with a pain doc for the past 2 years. She is sending me to a neurosurgeon because of recent MRI results and worsening pain. I was asking for advice on getting a second opinion from a surgeon in the same practice or an opinion from a surgeon in another practice. I want an objective second opinion.
    Kim
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  • I would get an opinion from a neurosurgeon and an orthopedic spine surgeon from different practices. They tend to look at things differently and that should help you with making your decision. I got 4 opinions before deciding to move forward with surgery and ultimately went with an orthopedic spine surgeon, but it's all about who you feel most comfortable with.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
  • SteveT said:
    I would get an opinion from a neurosurgeon and an orthopedic spine surgeon from different practices. They tend to look at things differently and that should help you with making your decision. I got 4 opinions before deciding to move forward with surgery and ultimately went with an orthopedic spine surgeon, but it's all about who you feel most comfortable with.
    Steve, how did you choose the surgeons you went to for a consult? Did you go on patient referrals or another dr's referral? I am seeing the neurosurgeon my pain doc recommended but don't know how to choose another for an opinion? The only people I know who have had spine surgery have all used docs from the same practice as the one I will see. Should I just pick someone out of the phone book or off the internet? Thanks, Kim
    Kim
  • It's a crapshoot really. See who your insurance covers and research them online. Being you are seeing an NS already, I'd look around for a fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeon for your 2nd opinion.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
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  • Or other dr rating websites are a good place to start. I don't base my decision 100% of them, but I do consider what patients have to say.

    If you are near a university hospital, that would be a great place to get a 2nd opinion.
    We can't always control the cards we are dealt in life, but we can control how we play the hand
  • I got several opinions from both. I decided to have a Neurosurgeon and Orthopedic surgeon operate on me.
    Cervical Laminectomy and fusion C2 to T1 June 2012, Anterior Hip Replacement November 2012, Laminectomy, Discectomy Foriminotomy, L3 to L5, February 2014, evacuation of Hematoma April 2014.
    Cervical Myopathy, DDD, Spinal Stenosis, osteoarthritis
  • PaulPPaul Posts: 713
    edited 04/16/2014 - 5:03 PM
    willswim6 said:
    Do you think I should seek out someone in another neuro group or could I get an objective opinion from a neurosurgeon in the same practice?
    When I was looking for a surgeon, I didn't let very much limit me. I paid out of pocket for the consults. (I interviewed 7 surgeons all over California and even in Arizona. A wide range of opinions and options were given and I am glad I sought them out. My surgeries were performed by BOTH a neuro and an ortho present.

    I would encourage youu to get multiple opinions from independent spine specialized surgeons.

    You can also look on your state's website for their medical board's page. There, you can look up a surgeon and see what they have on record. So for example, I live in Ca. I went to www. ca .gov There, I could start finding the links to the state's medical board etc etc and other resources. Obviously, one could also just type a surgeon's name into a search engine and start reading stuff.
    -----------------------------
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
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