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  • Thanks, Dave. I appreciate anyone sharing info and experience. I want to hear from folks with good and bad experiences so I can form my own opinions. I have noticed some people that post on SH are "get surgery right away" people and some on SH are "slow down, get second opinion" people. I also believe some docs are "get surgery now or you will become paralysed when you slip off the curb" doctors. I think this is sometimes used as a scare tactic. I think it's a good thing to take it slow and remember that surgery should a last resort. I hope I'm making sense??--Mazy
  • Mazy,

    Yes, you make sense to me. I have a greater understanding of the spine through my research over the past year. Its interesting, people with cervical problems stand a greater chance of paralysis than a lumbar person. I have been on this site for over a year and have seen a lot people post that their surgeon predicts paralysis if they don't act now (some cervical, some lumbar). It's hard navigating what someone is telling when you lack the knowledge to determine if they are correct or not or just trying to force you to make a hasty decision.

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  • Hi Dave
    You are right. It was me that said 'can someone explain my MRI?' What I probably should have said 'has anyone had an MRI similar to mine?'. Just to compare notes and info. with somebody. It was a very bad way to intro myself and I do appalogize. I am ready to get rid of my pain or at least get it better controlled and able to walk comfortable. I think comparing notes and feelings of good and bad that have similarities are healthy. If not why do we have friends? That is all I wanted here because I have had nobody other than my neuro to really vent. I think even our spouses even though they watch, hold, listen and most of all care about us they don't really have anything to compare to. Dave thank you for listening.
  • I have always had a strong suspicion that a lot of surgeons see the dollar signs when it comes to us spineys. That is why it took me 5 years and 5 doctors opinions before I would have the fusion. Lets face it, spinal fusion is very lucrative for doctors and hospitals. My total bills were over $150,000. Unbeliveable!! That being said, I found a surgeon who I know had my best interests at heart and he tried every thing before I had surgery.
  • with those who look for other options than surgery. When I first went to my surgeon - for me - he said "When you are ready - let me know." I have a variety of problems with my back Neck collopsing in Lower back bulging out and joined by scholis (can't spell tonight). I had met my dr when my dad was looking to perhaps relieve his back pain. Dr. Raabe told him that he could not fix his back, but maybe he could give him some relief.
    Anyway, I had already decided on the surgery when I found this site. I have enjoyed it for the experiences others have had and my daughter enjoys it because I can talk to those who have gone before. I didn't read it to decide what I should do. That was my personal decision - and I don't regret it.
    So don't anybody get huffy about the information they read here, but take what you might need from it, use it and let us know if it helped.
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  • I agree with Dave that extreme caution must be taken and that surgery must be a last resort, knowing that it is ultimately and non-deterministic gamble. The problem I have with some posters is that they all too casually state numbers that have no basis in fact. For example:

    My surgeon told me that about 90% of fusion patients are considered successful.

    I NEVER have come across such statistics that were backed by significant random samplings across a long period of time in tracking outcomes...especially when it comes to pain management! Sorry, I can only go by anecdotal experience and, more often than not, I have seen fusions cause more complications and pain down the line. Too often I see that it is a slippery slope into more surgeries and ever increasing dosages of pain medications.

    Doctors have no solid empirical evidence that fusions do something for pain. This procedure remains a hot topic within the medical community as well as with insurance companies alarmed at the 250,000 and always growing Americans who are having serious back surgeries.

    There is no silver bullet with spinal surgery. This is not like resetting and fixing a broken arm or leg.

    As some of you know, I had a fusion 2.5 years ago that was ill advised. Yes, I am now recovered and playing soccer and running once again. But, I was in utter agony for 18 months afterward and basically abandoned by my doctors, all whom kept changing their justifications for surgery and explanations of why I was in pain.

    Now that I recovered, they want to proclaim that the fusion "fixed" things. Never mind that the fusion caused the pain in the 1st place...and that most said I would always be in such pain. My doctors at UCSF had no damn idea of what was ever going on, other than in noting a solid union and declaring victory in that.

    I am a computer scientist and fair mathematician. In my research, I was appalled at how poorly statistical studies are maintained with regards to spinal surgeries. Suffice to say, this is one of the most abused medical specialties around.

    In summary, I believe I recovered because I was basically healthy and strong to begin with. Most of the bed mates I had, who were older and not exactly athletic, fared much worse.

    Like Dave suggests, do your research to the nth degree. Understand that this is carpentry and it helps having the best carpenters. Understand that the more invasive spine surgeries are a gamble when it comes to pain.

    Cheers, Mate
  • I am just stateing my side of the story,i dont think there are neuro surgeons pushing people into surgury so they can make big bucks,i was told by my neurosurgeon that nothing was pressing on a nerve so i wouldnt be a canidate for surgury,he was honest and direct,now some people get turned off by that and think they are being rude,i accepted it,and i sure would not be pressing for another opinion.Now you could probably could keep running from surgeon to surgeon until you found someone to operate.Back surgury is a big decision to make,and people just come to read the threads, and not to have other people help them to decide,if we dont help people then whats the point of this website?
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,584
    first i would just like to start this by saying that the message that dave has been trying to bring across is very valid. that point is:
    before considering surgery, make sure you do research so that you know what you are getting into

    i totally agree with that message. addressing dave's concern about members coming here looking for answers, i do totally agree with. yes, there are members asking questions that normally would be directed to a doctor. but , please remember many people do not have the chance to ask those questions so their doctor or may not have a doctor.

    we have tried to make it perfectly clear that any advise you receive from a member, including dave's and mine should not
    be considered professional medical advise. at best we can provide some insight into a subject that we have personal experiences with and have done our research.
    this is stated in the forum rules and our introduction points to this url:
    to let everyone know about medical advise.

    dave, i am sure you would agree with me that over the years there has been a lot of information exchanged, ideas, suggestions, experiences regarding our different surgeries. i remember chatting with you many times about this and pre and post surgery time. this message board provides so much to all spinal patients. many members here are not considering surgery, may never have surgery, but come here to learn more about the subject.

    can members here read and make diagnostic information from reading someone's posted mri ? no

    can members here convince a person to have or not to have
    surgery ? no

    can members here provide an environment for open discussion to permit exchange of ideas and details? yes

    i've read everyone's post here just as i have read so many similar posts from the old spine-health site. there really is no wrong or right here. its a matter of stating one's opinion, just as i have done here.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • I am very greatful for SH and the fact that we all can state our opinions here and weather we agree or not we can still be civil to eachother. This was a very good thread that Dave started because I have read a few posts myself where a person was very persistant in someone interpeting their test results, or recommending a surgery, etc. Also, I think it's important for people to realize that when asking for opinions, write if you have gotten a 2nd or 3rd medical opinion. Some people get mad at us for suggesting that because they have already been to several doctors and they are frustrated. We don't know how many drs. you have been to unless you tell us in your first post. Keep posting every one!
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