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Old 08-27-2012, 11:17 AM   #1
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Need advice back surgery.

Ok need some advice. I have three bulging discs, L5-S1, L4-5, and L3-4. The worst is L5-S1. Left protrusion. Their all lateral protrusions. Anyway been getting worse last two years.Have had many steroid injections. Have had relief. But now nothing. I have sevier pain in my lower back down both legs. Can hardly walk. I have been sent to a surgeon after two years of agony. Can anyone pls give me any advice as to what treatment they might give me, or what I am in for? I appreciate it.

 
Old 08-27-2012, 12:01 PM   #2
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Re: Need advice back surgery.

What kind surgery are they offering? My husband walks with buliging discs for years now and was told that bulges come and go and no surgery for it even though he suffers a great deal especially with his kind job.

I am sorry you are having so much pain, this is terrible, but only DR can give you an advice what can be done in your particular situation. We all have some kind problems and for each of them we get different surgeries, different treatments. i wish it would be one unique treatment for everyone and it would help everyone, but this just my dream.
Did you try any PT? Did you try to swim which is great for back issues. Acupuncture was very successful for my husband, you need no less than 20-25 treatments though to see any results.

I wish you best luck with whatever you having. Less painful life too!
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:05 PM   #3
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Re: Need advice back surgery.

I don't know if I can tell you exactly what they will do in the way of surgery. I can only relate what I have been thru and the surgery they did on me.

But first one thing you said was that you were sent to a surgeon. What type of surgeon were you sent to? In my opinion for the spine you can either use an orthopedist or a neurosurgeon. But one thing that I would recommend is that make sure whoever you do see is that they were trained and currently practice in spine related issues. There are a lot of specialists out there so make sure you are seen by the right specialist.

As to myself and the type of surgery that I had, I have been thru 7 spine surgeries. Two of the surgeries were for the implanting than the removal of a spinal cord stimulator for pain. It was removed since it wasnt effectinv in dealing with the pain issues.

I have been thru both cervical and lumbar surgeries. I found the neck surgeries the most difficult to deal with. But that is my story. The worst was a 12 hour surgery that was done in 2 separate surgeries requiring Harrington Rods.

As to the lumbar I had 2 surgeries done. The first was for herniated discs. They were originally buldging discs that progressed over time. Because of the way the discs were I was not able to stand upright. I was hunched over. So they did a laminctomy. I was fine for a while. But then again I wasn't able to stand upright. I think the 1st surgeon didn't do the correct procedure on me. When it occurred the 2nd time I had something called Flatback Syndrome which is what caused me to be hunched over all the time. So the 2nd surgery whiche seemed to work required putting Harrington Rods from L2 down to the iliac crest. I have been walking upright ever since and that surgery ws done back in 1997.

I know you said that you had bulging discs. Do you have other issues such as stenosis of the central spine or of the foramena? When was the last MRI or CT scan done? And what do the reports say specifically.

Good luck and let us know how you make out...

 
Old 08-27-2012, 02:10 PM   #4
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Re: Need advice back surgery.

He is an orthopedic and a good one from what I've found. As far as MRI results. L5 S-1 lobulated disc bulging lateral left 2x6x4mm. Moderate left and mild right neural foraminal narrowing. L4-5 and 3-4 are similar. My phsio. Also thought there was probably a linear tear. Thank you for your feedback.

 
Old 08-27-2012, 04:31 PM   #5
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Re: Need advice back surgery.

Usually, unless there is bladder or bowel involvement, the surgeon will recommend that all conservative measures bee tried. These may include prescription medications, physical therapy and steroid injections to reduce swelling and help with pain. Only when these have been tried and have failed will surgery be considered.

I see you have already had steroid injections...so, depending on how bad the nerve compression is, the surgeon may want to operate to decompress the nerve or nerves....

 
Old 08-28-2012, 05:18 AM   #6
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Re: Need advice back surgery.

Please, when picking a DR for spinal surgery, make sure he is not just Ortho, his is Spinal Ortho surgeon. You can ask him how many exactly same surgeries as you need, he is done in a past year. And what is the success rate.
I personally would never go for any surgery unless I would go for 2-3 opinion in different areas where doctors don't know each other. I would never recommend anyone to go for surgery, spinal surgery especially, without couple other opinions. Learned in very hard way.
I don't care how much we trust our doctors; good and self confident DR may suggest you to go for another opinion, and this would be right.

Best luck to you
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:13 AM   #7
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Re: Need advice back surgery.

I agree on getting more then 1 opinion. I have sometimes obtained 2 to 3 opinions. And yes at times I was faced with different opinions on whether surgery should be done or not. Then it was time to decide which opinion I felt most comfortable with. I always ended up opting for surgery because I knew for me it was the right decision & I still believe to this day that I've made the right choices.

 
Old 08-28-2012, 10:27 PM   #8
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Re: Need advice back surgery.

Thank you for the advice. I will let you know how it goes. And will definitely think about getting a second opinion. Only problem is. Where I'm at there aren't too many choices. Thanks again.

 
Old 08-29-2012, 12:59 AM   #9
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Re: Need advice back surgery.

I think that while getting a 2nd or 3rd opinion on surgery is a great idea. I think a factor that you need to keep in mind is how do you feel about the surgeon that recommended the surgery. I feel you have to have confidence in the doctor that is doing the surgery. Has he done this procedure before? How is this doctor as far as being able to communicate with him/her? Is he/she accessible if you need to address any concerns?

I've been to doctors to who look great on paper as to they went to great medical schools; affiliated with great hospitals; they do research in their field and are published, but when it came down to the examination; talking to them etc you find that something is missing.

I also believe that one thing you should do as far as preparation for surgery is the mind-body connection. You have to feel confident that everything will go well; you will get great care from the doctros/nurses during recovery. You have to go in with a positive attitude. That is not to say that things don't always go perfectly, but I find you have to prepare yourself mentally as well for any challenges that you face in life and it makes it a whole lot easier in handling the journey that you are on.

Be well.

 
Old 08-29-2012, 12:47 PM   #10
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Re: Need advice back surgery.

Pebbles. Thank u for that. And to your question. Both doctors are in the same office. Orthopedics at the hospital. And mentally its a challenge because of my work. It's very physical and I can't do it with the pain I am in now. Seriously trying to find less strenuous work. You know how that goes. It's been difficult. That's probably my best option,but haven't found anything as I'm on short term disability for ankle surgery at the moment. Four weeks into it. So I know I have to get my back fixed to do this job I have currently. Any time I do anything physical even walking I am in severe pain. It is horrible. I've been through the rounds with my current doc. And primary phys. with pain meds. Until I had a updated MRI he told me I was crazy. That went an for a year and a half. Working like that. The reason I want to get this fixed is I feel in my mind I need to to get any relief and get back to work. As disability doesn't pay crap. I have kinda made up my mind that its bad enough to get done whatever he wants to do. But I don't want to be worse. I don't see how it could be. I guess I'm just nervous I don't even know what he is going to offer. I've already done every other options. So just curious on what I'm am up against. Thank you so much for all of your advice. I appreciate it.

Last edited by luck25; 08-30-2012 at 11:57 AM.

 
Old 08-29-2012, 03:19 PM   #11
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Re: Need advice back surgery.

If you need all three levels surgically repaired, the surgeon may want to do a fusion....but then again, I see a few people on the board who have had multi-level discectomies or laminectomies and the surgeon has not also fused the area. Often they don't like to do too many levels that are adjacent as it causes structural weakness in the spine and instability.

 
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:50 AM   #12
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Re: Need advice back surgery.

Luck:

In your response to me you said something to the effect that both orthopedists were in the same office.

when it comes to 2nd or 3rd opinions I tend to stay away from doctors that are in the same office/hospital. They tend to stick together and think the same way. You need someone that is completely independent of the office to give you an opinion.

You will find that they may look at things in a different light when they don't have a connection to one another.

It's like I had surgery on my lumbar spine in 1997 where they put Harrington Rods in my spine. There is always concern about putting metal into someones body fear of infection etc.

The surgeon that recommended the surgerey is at one of the top hospitals in NY and I loved this doctor and the hospital. So I went to another completely separate hospital and doctor for another opinion. He felt I should NOT do the surgery yet he really didnt give me any great advice on alternative treatments. So I ended up at yet another hospital/doctor in NY for another opinon. The final doctor said that the doctor that told me NOt to do the surgery was, well I wont use the words he did, but he disagreed.

In my heart I knew the surgery had to be done and glad that I did it. So bottom line and this is just my opinion get INDEPENDENT opinions, do the research and determine what makes sense to you as to what is the best treatment for you. Good Luck.............

 
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Old 08-31-2012, 03:42 AM   #13
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Re: Need advice back surgery.

I suggest seeing a neurosurgeon for a second opinion. That's what I. did and also make sure he is a neurosurgeon that specializes in spine. Go out of Your area. To me, a two hour drive is worth your health in gold. Good luck.
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:32 AM   #14
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Re: Need advice back surgery.

[QUOTE=pebblebeach3;5047927]Luck:

In your response to me you said something to the effect that both orthopedists were in the same office.

when it comes to 2nd or 3rd opinions I tend to stay away from doctors that are in the same office/hospital. They tend to stick together and think the same way. You need someone that is completely independent of the office to give you an opinion.

You will find that they may look at things in a different light when they don't have a connection to one another.

It's like I had surgery on my lumbar spine in 1997 where they put Harrington Rods in my spine. There is always concern about putting metal into someones body fear of infection etc.

The surgeon that recommended the surgerey is at one of the top hospitals in NY and I loved this doctor and the hospital. So I went to another completely separate hospital and doctor for another opinion. He felt I should NOT do the surgery yet he really didnt give me any great advice on alternative treatments. So I ended up at yet another hospital/doctor in NY for another opinon. The final doctor said that the doctor that told me NOt to do the surgery was, well I wont use the words he did, but he disagreed.

In my heart I knew the surgery had to be done and glad that I did it. So bottom line and this is just my opinion get INDEPENDENT opinions, do the research and determine what makes sense to you as to what is the best treatment for you. Good Luck.............[/QUOTE]

I can't agree with you more, I suggest everyone to do same thing. I would never go for any surgery without seeing couple opinions in different areas/state/hospitals. I learned this in hard way, this is why I always suggest this to people.
I can never forget when 15 years ago, after having heart Cauterization on Wednesday, 3 cardiologist of same group came to my room telling me they will perform double by pass on Friday. They told me I have 90% blockage in main artery and may drop dead at any time. They were Doctors from our famous, good reputation group of cardiologists.

My husband insisted me to leave the hospital and immediately go for second opinion. We drove for 2 hours to NYC to see excellent cardiologist -surgeon. He looked all my pictures, reports and said I don't have any blockages and no surgery needed. He dialed a phone# on a report and asked to talk to one of the doctors who signed report and who wrote I half 90% blockage and surgery recommended.
guess what? He didn't know I am in a room listening, so he said usually reports signed by secretary ( a big lie) and this may be a mistake. NYC cardiologist asked what is their opinion on so and so cauterization's condition. And that I came to see him for second opinion and he didn't think I need any surgery and that this is no blockage but just a spasm which is normal when catheter goes into the main vein...
This *&^ said: Yes, we know that, like I said this could be a mistake, secretary made a mistake.

I came back to NJ, so angry no words to describe. I decided to make an app with the group who told me I need the surgery and tell them what I know and how i feel about it. I thought my $40 co-pay will be well spend in case my conversation with them will help many others who will be in same position I was.
When I called to make an app, his secretary told me to wait; than she comes back saying he is on vacation and is booked 4 month in advance. I knew it's a lie; I had never had a problem with it before, seeing him next day after asking for app.
I decided to write them a letter; so I did. I never recieved any apology, I never heard of them before. But... I told my story to all of my clients, I told this story who was willing to hear me. For their own sake and for the sake of their kids.
I do have heart condition but I don't have any blockages still. I don't need bypass surgery thank God. I have my pacemaker and it takes care of my problem well so far. I got revenge many years late when I ended up at the hospital with AFib and he was a DR on call. When I saw him at my bed, very slowly I told him my name and I asked him if he can call my cardiologist, I refuse to see him near me. No problem was his answer, will do! And I added, please don't send me any bills for coming, I will not let my insurance to pay for it. I was so happy, at least somehow I hurt his ego. I do everything in my power to prevent them hurting other people.
I could have double by pass and die from other health issues I have just b/c they needed big $$$ for my surgery. My kids still were in school, they could loose just because of them. I forgave them for my own sake, but I would never forget this. And even if they would be only one group of cardiologists on this Earth, they would never have me as their patient. Period.
Same story with different details my husband went through...

I hope after reading this story many people would understand the power of second-third opinion. Don't trust your DR just because he is nice and smiles to you. This is your life, this is your body and it's only your obligation to treat it right.

Moldova

 
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Old 09-01-2012, 01:47 PM   #15
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Re: Need advice back surgery.

Moldova:

Your story reminds me of a misdiagnosis that I went thru. In 1994 I developed tremors of my left arm. I didnt know what to make of it. So I went to a neurologist that my dad had beens seeing. Thought he was OK back then. After months of office visits; testing EEG of the Brain; MRI of the brain; blood work etc, finally December of 1994 the diagnosis ---- Parkinson's Disease. I too live in NJ. I went to a large hospital in NJ that had a specialist taht was known for Parkinsons treatment; research etc. The conclusion was that they can only go on examination but he pretty much agreed that I had Parkinson's Disease. So over the next two years I continue with the doctor that initally diagnosed me.

Eventually I developed spine problems, again and eventually ended up at major orthopedic hospital in NY. Surgery was suggested but my orthopedist wanted a neurological consult prior to final decision. I saw a neruologist in NY and conclusion was 1. I did NOT have Parkinsons Disease 2. He thought it was essential tremor.

I was furious. Who do I believe? I went back to the doctor that gave me the second opinion in NJ and gave him the events upto that point. He just stood there and scratched his head. I finally said what is wrong with me? He never did give me an answer.

So prior to the spine surgery I ended up flying to California to a clinic that specilizes in Parkinsons Disease. I think they may treat other movement disorders as well but I am not sure. So after him reviewing the tests; doing a physical examination and doing another test on me that had not been done, there was yet another conclusion. 1. I did NOT have Parkinson's Disease 2. I did NOT have Essential tremor, 3. He could not tell me what I did have everything was inconclusive.

So by this point it was about 28 months past the initial diagnosis. By that point I was on 3 different anti-Parkinson's medications that were considered heavy duty medications.

Since that time the tremors in my arm are still there. But the tremors for whatever reason are not as severe as they were back in the beginning.

So it taught me the following: 1. get more then 1 opinion; get more then 2 if necessary & be proactive in your treatment. Do your own reading and if something doesn't make sense as to what the doctors are telling you then question it until you get the answer that you feel is correct and you are comfortable with.

Hope this story helps in people considering whether they need 2 or 3 rd opinions or not. Good luck all.

 
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