Neuro Surgeon what do i need to askPLEASE respond quickly

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by texasmaia, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. texasmaia

    texasmaia New Member

    I posted a few weeks ago to a thread regarding back problems and have had an MRI and follow up since then.

    Actually, my follow up with Doc was strange. He appologized for not taking my pain more seriously. I didn't blame him since I had never really said much about the pain in my neck and shoulders.

    Other docs in the past have just told me that it was because I sleep on my stomach and have my arm up with hand under my head and it pinches a nerve in shoulder. So I just passed it off and have lived with the pain for the last 15+ years.

    Well, he didn't tell me what was wrong with it but said I have severe damage to three vertebrae in the lower cervical area. He said there is alot of arthritis there but that is not the problem. He said it needed surgery. He told me it was way past any injectible therapy or physical. I needed to see a neuro surgeon right away.

    My lower back has two herniated discs that could possibly be injected for now. He didn't know what the surgeon would do about those.

    So......when I asked the ladies at the front if they could make my appt. for this week they laughed and said "no way, there is a 30 day waiting period. the surgeon looks at your records and decides if he even wants to take you as a patient or not...we can't get you in that fast"

    I came back to work and guess what? Docs office called me with an appointment with the surgeon TOMORROW.

    So now.....those of you with experience on back troubles...what do I need to know and ask him???? Please respond.

    Thanks ,
  2. kjfms

    kjfms Member

    Sorry you are having problems and I hope you find what you are looking for. I have no experience in back surgery but here are some basic questions anyone facing surgery should ask their surgeon.

    1. How many of these exact procedures have you personally performed?

    2. How many were successful?

    3. Have you ever lost a patient on the table if was if surgical error or anesthesia?

    4. How long will my recovery time be?

    5. What pain medication will you supply?

    6. I have FMS/ME how will you work with that?

    Look for surgeon on on states Medical Board of Medicine too. You will be to see if he/she has any disciplinary action on their record and the outcome of them there.

    Many advances have been made in back surgeries and I wish you success in yours.

    Please remember if you feel rushed to ask the surgeon to slow down and tell him/her how you are feeling.

    If you do not feel comfortable with your surgeon seek help elsewhere and always get a second opinion.

    If your surgeon does not want to answer any of these question that is a big red light--you should really find another surgeon.

    Best of luck to you,

    Karen :)
    [This Message was Edited on 09/11/2006]
    [This Message was Edited on 09/11/2006]
  3. littleleafhopper

    littleleafhopper New Member

    Sorry Maia,

    I don't know much about back surgery either, but it sure sounds serious enough to warrant a second opinion. Perhaps there is something else that could be done. If there is a rush your doctor could perhaps schedule two specialists so that you could see if they agree, unless of course it's an emergency.

    Good Luck, I hope that your pain subsides soon.

    Yours, Lil
    [This Message was Edited on 09/11/2006]
  4. Lumare41

    Lumare41 New Member

    My back surgery is next week,my neuro surgeon not only wanted mri but also xrays and ct scan. If they reccommend surgery they will tell you everything. The risks,sucess rate hospital stay,rehab recovery.I talked to mine about pain control.

    My surgeon is only doing my surgery because it is neccessary to stabilize my spine. If you are not in danger they really try alternatives.Ask for everything in writing and research everything.

    Godd Luck

    ANNXYZ New Member

    alady here who seems to have a background on med issues and has worked with doctors . She seems pretty savvy and might have some ideas for you .

    I would NOT elect to do surgery in a rush unless the situation becomes critical. I would also want to have a good feeling about the surgeon handling my care . If you do not have a good gut feeling about a decision, then wait til you feel more comfortable with all of the particulars .

    Blesssings to you !!
  6. kirschbaum26

    kirschbaum26 New Member

    Dear Maia:

    I am sorry you are having so much trouble. I was also told I needed to have cervical fusion surgery (12 years ago, and I still have not had it). I went to another doctor, who told me that yes, he could do the surgery, and while it might protect my spinal column, it would most likely speed up osteo-arthritis, and it would cause me more pain than I had at the time. He also said, that less honest doctors would operate on me...he said that I could pay for his new boat with all the procedures he could justify doing on me, but it would most likely not help. He said come back when I could not turn my head. Has not happened yet, so I have not had the surgery.

    Others have given you more detailed advice. Find out if any action taken against doctor. How many times he has performed the procedure he plans to do on you, recovery time, limitations, risks, etc. Better to be more informed. Also, I highly suggest having an advocate with you. Someone to remember what meds you take, what procedures you have already had, etc. Hospitals are dangerous places...and we need all the help we can get.

    Good luck to you, and hope that if you proceed with procedure, it goes well and gives you some relief.

  7. KelB

    KelB New Member

    You said that your current doctor didn't tell you exactly what was wrong? My first question would be to ask your neurosurgeon for his diagnosis - or even a list of things he thinks are wrong - and take the time to write all of them down.

    That way, you can come away from the appointment and do your own background research.

    Personally, I would never agree to any surgery unless I knew:

    a)exactly why they were operating on me (the name of the condition(s).
    b) what improvement in my quality of life I could expect (including improvements in pain levels and frequency)
    c) what limitations the surgery might result in e.g. some loss of mobility in the vertebrae could be a trade-off for less pain
    d) are there any risks to the surgery - what are they and how would they affect my quality of life if they happened?
  8. calishygirl

    calishygirl New Member

    Hi maia~

    I have had 2 cervical spine surgeries. The first one was an Anterior Cervical Diskectomy w/Fusion C5-6, C6-7 (ACDF C5-7). The MRI showed herniated disks at C3-4, C5-6, and C6-7. At the C6-7, there was severe spinal cord compression (ribbon thin), and the Neurosurgeon told me that with most patients with that type of spinal cord compression, the person is in a wheel chair.

    He explained the surgery procedure to me, and that I would be in the hospital for 24 hours. That the surgery would last about 3 hours. He said that if I didn't have the surgery done soon, that I would end up in a wheel chair. The surgery was 5 1/2 hours because there was more stuff going on there than what the MRI showed. In fact, in every spinal surgery that I had, the MRI didn't show everything, and it was a mess!

    I did not ask any questions... but I wish I had, and I wished I had googled the man's name. I found out after my FIFTH (5th) spinal surgery (he also did 3 lumbar spinal surgeries), that he had had several malpractice suits against him.

    All I know is that I had a lot of neurological stuff going on. I was having bladder & bowel problems (part of it was lumbar spine issues -- I guess I should tell you is that I had a horse accident -- a horse fell on top of me a year and a half before the first cervical spine surgery), I was falling down all the time too. I was working full time at the time, and I walked close to walls, and I would fall into the walls.

    Anyway, the first spinal surgery was the only successful spinal surgery that I had. I am now totally disabled, my disabilities are: (1) non-fusion of the spine at C3-4 & L3-4; (2) failed back surgery syndrome, cervical & lumbar spines; (3) chronic intractable pain; (4) fibromyalgia; (5) chronic myofascial pain; and (6) chronic arthritis.

    Arthritis forms "osteophytes" (bone spurs) on the spine. I had a HUGE bone spur on C-3, and I had to have a partial corpectomy of the C-3. (Removed 1/2 of the C-3 vertebra.)

    Anyway, I would ask the following:

    1) Explain the whole surgery to you;
    2) How long is the surgery;
    3) How are pain meds adminstered post-surgical while in the hospital;
    4) Will you wear a cervical collar post-surgical, and if so, how long;
    5) How many surgeries of this kind has he done;
    6) Can you speak to some of his other same surgical patients;
    7) Will you have physical therapy post-surgical, and when will it be;
    8) What kind of closure does he use, i.e., staples, stitches, dissolvible stitches w/glue & steri strips

    GOOGLE his name... if he's got something going on or had something going on, he will show up.

    [This Message was Edited on 09/11/2006]
  9. kjfms

    kjfms Member

    Physicians/surgeons are not allowed to give out names of patients due to the laws of HIPAA.


  10. calishygirl

    calishygirl New Member

    I forgot about the HIPPA law... my first couple of surgeries were prior to HIPPA. Thanks, Karen

    I'd also talk to people in the waiting room. Got a lot of info that way too.

  11. kjfms

    kjfms Member

    you are welcome. It's hard to believe that HIPAA has been around for 10 years (1996) now isn't it?

    No problem I just wanted to toss that in didn't want some physician to lose it when someone started to ask for names of patients.


    Karen :)
    [This Message was Edited on 09/11/2006]
  12. texasmaia

    texasmaia New Member

    Just wanted to say thanks for all the response. I would never rush into a surgery... but I am going to rush into the doctors office.

    I have had five surgeries in the past all on my ovaries and hysterectomy. I am not afraid of surgery, just don't know anything about backs.

    The info was great and I will be back on here after my appointment to let you know what he said and follow up.

    Thanks again.

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