Fellows, need your advice - please help!
I had 2 level fusion a year ago. Now diagnosed with Failed Back surgery syndrome. A week ago was told that i need another surgery by Doctor at NYC HSS. Today i went to see a Doctor with a great reputation as a back surgeon. He really has a lot of great sucess stories. But he is from the same area where my original surgeon is, they know each other. So he told me that he does not believe that my back problems can be helped with the second surgery.
He is relatively young but very conservative and does not believe to send his patients on a table if he knows it will not help them because a lot of back problems can't be helped by surgery!! He believes that if Doctors would not rush to send spinal patients on a table - it would not be so many people in my debilitating situation. He suggested strongly to have pain device inserted and leave with it even though he knows how uneasy my life now.
I trust and respect his oppinion, very unusual for a surgeon, is in it? But how in a world i know now what i suppose to do? What if as confident and honest he is - he does NOT give me OK for a second surgery because he knows my surgeon and does not want to admit that my first surgery failed?
What would you do, guys? Who would you believe? So confused now.
I want to believe him, i defenately don't want another surgery if i don't have to have one, but how can i leave the way i leave now? And no hope to get better, just go downhill?
Moldova, I'm sorry you're having such pain and such a hard time with figuring out the best solution. I think you're at the point of needing a third opinion. You have two conflicting opinions from two doctors who have a good reputation. I would take whatever tests you have (MRI, scans, etc.) and see a different spine specialist who isn't in the same group. Don't tell the new doctor what either of the others has said. Let him come to his own conclusions. Then you can discuss the three opinions if you want to.
These back things can be so elusive and so frustrating. I hope you find a good third opinion and can come to a good decision about your next step. Let us know how it goes.
Did you go to the hospital of special surgery in Manhattan ? Thats like the Big Mac of all spine hospitals on the east coast .. I have a surgeon who teaches in Einstein in the Bronx that I really believe in but I have met many people who went to that Manhattan Hospital and had miracles performed on them...
Just something to think about ..
I agree with the rest - time for a 3rd opinion. I, too, have failed back syndrome, and went to both surgeons who operated previously. They disagreed with each other, so I had to get a 3rd opinion. Seeing that third doctor really helped me make what turned out to be the best decision. If you have a regular family physician I would ask him/her for the name of an impartial physician to take a look at all your records, scans, test results, etc. I know the quandry you're in,, as I've been there and can definitely sympathize.
Thank you much for your support... I am going to see a Doctor in NY on May 17th. He is a surgeon at HSS. This will be a 3rd oppinion. Even if he tells me second surgery may help me i still on a back of my mine will have some doubts since one of the great Doctors told me what he thinks about back surgeries in general: they help only very limited % of people because people get operated for a wrong reasons. He told me that my stenosis, degenerative, herniations can't be help by surgery! He said he gets all the time somebody's else patients who come to him for help after 2-4 fusions and nothing he can do at this point; he said in most of this cases he would not do the surgery to begin with. I would not take his opinion so close to my heart if i would be a stranger to him, but i could not get an app with him and another Doctor (good friend of his) called him and ask to see me and he was very honest. This is what concerns me - what if he is right? I do know bunch of people who had very succsessful surgeries done by him, but all of those surgeries not for the reason i had. It is a "simple" siatica sugeries. Non of those people had my symptoms. So it is so confusing, really... I am glad i met a Doctor who is not "knife happy" who is honest and not looking at his patients to make money of, but ... :-(
Saversano, i go to see D-r Farmer on May 17th (3rd oppinion) he is in the same group with D-r O'Leary, Camissa, and others. Will let you know.
Moldova, I have a question. At what point did you start having doubt that your surgery(double fusion) didn't work? I am post op 11 months(double fusion- instrumentation -etc.) and I am starting to have terrible pain. But the Surgeon let me loose months ago and said all was fine and I did not have to come back. My fusion was for DDD AND I HAD 4 CAGES AND RODS AND SCREWS PUT IN(L3/4 L4/5). My pain radiates from the middle of my back down to my lower back and into my buttocks area and hips. My hips really hurts and I am having weakness in my legs.Hmmm? And I would say its a level 9-10 on the pain scale. Pretty debilitating most the time. I do take pain meds. Anyway was just wondering how you knew it failed. Thanks and GOOD-LUCK! BOOMER
Boomer, i just read about myself...really sounds like it is my story, so sorry to hear it from you.
I had a surgery a year ago- 2 level fusion, prosthesis, instrumentation, open decompression/laminectomy and metal plate. Bone growth stimulator inserted for 11 month, bone graft from my hip.
I got nerve damaged during the surgery on my right leg/foot/toes. Leg is constant peens/needles, neuropaty pain, got dropped foot also and fall twice already.
I was 3 month after the surgery in agony, than i started to walk more, to have a better outlook and hope to get better, even though still was pretty much pain and PK every day. But when you slowly progressing - feels good mentally.
But about 4 month ago i started to get more pain:hip/ back/bottock/legs/feet. But back/hip/bottock is the worse.
I complaint to my Doctor and he would constantly say the same think: surgery was big and long recovery will be long too, have patients.
But i knew that something was not right. On March 24 i ended up in ER and was admitted to the hospital for 5 days: pain was beyound words in a hip/back/bottock area. For 5 days i had to stay in bed, was not able to step on my leg at all. Even could not get up to go to the lady's room.
I had MRI done even though it was not a pleasant one because i have permanent wires from Bone Growth Stimulator which was inserted during surgery. It was so hot, it was pullling and moving and hurting so much. It took 2 hours to perform this test - they stopped every 7-10 min to cool down the body to cool down wires.
Even though not many places wanted to do MRI on me, i was happy it was done because it showed the same problems i had surgery to begin with at the same L-4, L-5 S1, but also a new one at L3! At least i have the answer and my Doctor cannot say that everything looks good on ex-rays every month.
My honest advice to you based on my own experiense: go for couple of oppinions, have MRI done. We usually know when something is wrong, you get that gutsy feeling. I am pretty thin even though PK put some weight on my hips :-) and used to be very athletic, active. So i heal well no matter what. Therefore i knew my Doc does not tell me what he really feels.
I had one oppinion from a good Doctor who sends me now for 3 level surgery and SI Joint and the other oppinion from a great Doctor who does not believe it will help me with the type of problems i have.
So i go soon on 3rd app to NYC and see what will be the outcome.
Will let you know.
I live in rural PA. and it is very hard to be able to get opinion's around here . Maybe because everyone is sueing Dr.'s to much ? But every Dr. I go to see for a opinion , they turn me away as soon as they here I had a fusion already ! They just say sorry there's nothing more that we can do not even a opinion , just last Friday a worker's comp Dr. told me surgery will not help me anymore , but my surgeon said he want's to remove my hardware and get a better look at the upper and lower levels , he believes there is bad stuff going on at the other levels..Now what do I do ? Now w/c will not pay for surgery because there Dr. said it wouldn't help. It's impossible to get another opinion. I tried everywhere already. I'll just pray that the stimulator will take care or cover up the pain source.
I'm so sorry for you Moldova , I know what your going through. It suck's big time.
Shawley!!!!!!! I am so with you on this! Yes, this is so true - the minute they see my reports and MRI's they don't want me as a patient! My original Doctor even told me he does not beleive in second surgeries, they are even less sucessful than the first ones (depends on work is done, some of them more or less comlicated). I did find information on Internet why they don't like to do second surgeries and why it is more dangerous. Because of the fusion and scar tissue from the first one, it is a possibility to cut the nerve, area is more prone to infections due the inflammation, etc.
Therefore it is so hard to get the right oppinion and a good Doctor who would take you without worrying that you going to sue them. I am absolutely not plannin to sue anyone; all i want is to walk and leave with less pain...
I hope Shwaley, you will get some releive from this stimulator, let us know. I am a candidate for this one too, but whant to know your oppinion on it.