You have gotten some great advice which is coming from actual experience(even better) but what it really all comes down to is the overall experience of the surgeon for your particular surgery. i personally wouldn't let anyone but a NS even touch my c spine as it is such a flippin mess.but on the other hand,as you have been told here,there are other types of surgeons who could be just as good or better than some neuros.like i stated before,experience is really the key here.find out how much experience any surgeon has had with working within the c spine area.you do have a right to ask this and any other questions of any surgeon.you just need one with the most experience.
i have a wonderful ortho who has been working on my knee and he has tons of experience that i know of with extremity and lower to mid back type surgerys but i don't know what type of experience he has with the c spine and would definitely question the hell outta him if i would ever even consider surgery again there which it looks like i am going to have to do yet again.you need to feel comfortable with your surgeon and be comforted in the overall knowledge he or she has had with c spine surgerys.i was lucky enough to have the head of neurosurgery at the U of M here in minn do my cavernoma removal surgery but he retired on me this past august so now,i am looking for a new one to go into this mess of a c sine i have and it WILL be only a neuro that i will let in there only because it would require that level of experience and care.things are just that messed up in my c spie.
sorry to ramble.like i said,look for the surgeon who has that experience with doing the most successful c spine surgeries and you usually can't go wrong there.word of mouth is usually a great way to also find a good surgeon.ask around to freinds and co workers,i can almost guarentee you that you probably know people who have had surgerys like yours since everyones c spines all seem to be a mess once you hit a certain age.it is just really really common now since people can get alot of different surgerys done on an out patient basis.they just opt for the quickest way to get it done and move on.that was my plan too til things just went horribly wrong with my 'plan',and its been downhill ever since.
and PLEASE stay the heck away from any chiros for any adjustments on your c spine area.there are just soo many possible things that could go horribly wrong if the chiro doesn't have alot of experience or something just goes the wrong way.anywhere below the c spine,i wouldn't hesitate to go to a chiro since those areas are no where near as heavily innervated with all the nerves that run tru just the c spine itself.the c spine is like one huge junction box of very important nerves that the rest of your spine does not have.its just more dangerous to mess with.good luck and remember,experience and knowledge of your particular problem is the big thing to remember when looking for any type of surgeron.it may take more time to actually find one,but this is your c spine and any major comlications could cost you way more than you want.good luck and please keep us posted.marcia
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.
The first thing I would say is, do a search on the doctor.
I always do this, and you will find a wealth of info just by putting the Doctor's name into a search engine. I found that my doc (an ortho) was not only teaching new techniques for ACDF, but was doing reasearch and tests on new techniques, technology and drugs for improving these surgeries. He has numerous papers written and published on the subject(s) as well.
You can also try word of mouth, find someone you know who had a successful surgery and get a name.
I think that the discussion on which type of surgeon is better is a moot point, in that it really matter's more that they know what their doing, are skilled at it, and have high success ratios.
My surgery was very successful, C5-6 and C6-7. I am still pain free after 2 years and 5 months and do most everything I want to.
I think its just important to go with what you feel most comfortable with. I've heard things go really well and really bad in both cases, so its important on who YOU trust and your gut feeling, but don't just relay on what you hear from here or what ppl tell you. Do your own investigating, ask questions, If it will give you peace of mind- visit ortho and neuro floors and ask nurses who they think is good if you have too. Esp. the ICU's because they will know what docs are good and bad, for example what docs have best rate and how their patients do and who are the ones that have patients come out with problems and infections- Do this if you truely are fretting but you can easily obsess too much by deciding to investigate this as well, but if you start asking nurses, ask a few, because they will have their bias as well - I started doing this but I ended up going with the first choice I had in mind anyway, I was just getting nervous.
You can drive yourself crazy trying to figure it out, at some point you just have to bite the bullet, stop fretting about it and just go forward and not look back. Good Luck to you, I'll pray for you to find a good doc.
My only concern for you in this regard is to keep in mind that there is major nerve stuff going on in that C5-6 area. If you go ortho ask if they are going to be monitoring your nerves durring surgery, because they did for me and I went with neuro and if not, I would suggest requesting it. I was also sent for an EMG (nerve study) before surgery so they could get an idea if there was any nerve damage or not before hand.
Last edited by PearlDoves; 11-18-2006 at 08:20 PM.
I wouldn't go with a doc that I knew had patients came out with infections even if he was nice and my best friend, lol. Performance was something I was concerned about and asked about in regard to my surgeon as well, and found him to have been regarded as a top doc, and in tune with standards and so on. I learned he was very careful and protective to over-protective of his patients. I have a luxury that many people may not because I work around docs, so my emotional aspect of it all may have been playing into my writings, but at one point I was investigating someone who I didn't know at all. I believe investigating and logic in these decisions are very important. Sorry for any distress I might have caused.
Last edited by PearlDoves; 12-01-2006 at 11:00 AM.
The concern I have is giving advice that could cause problems for others.
Consider that someone comes on here looking for answers, and they have a condition that requires immediate surgery...are they going to be given the opportunity to feel comfortable with the doctor. Consider someone that has been in an accident. I have been here for almost three years, and there have been a number of people in just that circumstance. Everyone doesn't have the opportunity to change doctors because they don't feel comfortable about the one they have.
For every person that posts here, there are hundreds, maybe even thousands that are just readers, that have the same or similar problems, but are afraid or don't need to post. I have found that it's important to try and be factual, and supportive in what we post. You have the potential to help a lot of people when you post information here.
This thread is one that is very ambiguos and opinionated. I have tried to defuse that, as it doesn't matter if the surgeon is a neuro or an ortho. To say point blank that a neuro is wrong, or vice versa. Then all the people who are seeing an ortho question whether that is the right choice or not. It is frightening enough to deal with the issues leading up to this surgery without questioning whether the doctor is right, because of reading a thread like this.
Both types of surgeons can do this surgery. It should be stated that way, and personal opinions should be left out.
Sorry, I am not trying to pick on you, or anyone else. Those that know me here know that I am only concerned for those who are dealing with this, and very concerned that we all be fair and helpful.
I started this thread and want to thank all of you who are trying to help me figure things out. I like to hear different opinions. I see the surgeon on Dec. 19th and I may have the surgery pretty quick after that (I have been told). Merry Xmas, eh? This guy is a bigwig at a big spinal disorders campus and they do alot of reseach there too. Everything I have read suggests he knows what to do. I dont have the energy or time anymore to go see a bunch of surgeons. I somehow cannot face it. My physiatrist is exceptional and I am really picky. He has referred me to this orthopedic spinal guy. We talked long and hard about how good this surgeon is. When I had my discogram, that Dr. almost mentioned this surgeon's name. So that's the one I will most likely go with. Thanks you ALL for your help. I really appreciate it!
Dennis, I guess I thought I was being pretty neutral in regard to neuro and ortho, I just started talking about the nerve studies because I am unfamiliar with ortho and don't know if they do it. I had talked about investigating both avenues, but its possible you see some bias in there that I don't see, which is easy to do when talking from one's own experiences. If you really want me to, I can edit my post. I take no offense. I'm cool
But Skziemann - you know I started to get really bad quite quickly - and being how you are suffering, you could ask your primary doc to make a call to the surgeons office telling them that he would like you to get you in sooner due to your condition if you are feeling that sense of urgency. It is possible and it was done for me after I talked to my doc about some symptoms. Good luck to you!
Don't take it personal. I didn't mean it that way.
I was generally asking all to be a little more careful.
If you go back to the beginning of this post, and read through each response I think you will see what I'm saying. I posted that my doc was an ortho, because all I saw were people saying it has to be a neuro...eventually, I came to the conclusion that we were going down a path that was dangerous for others reading this thread.
You were not the only one to say that you needed to feel comfortable...
I do struggle a bit with your opinion on the nerves at C5-6. I had the exact same surgery that Skziemann is going to have. Done by an ortho. My results have been excellent. I'm not sure that C5-6 has any more nerves or is in any way different than any of the other levels...or requires a neuro rather than an ortho. What is the basis for you feelings on this?
no no, I'm not takeing anything personally. No need to worry about that. We are both learning from this. I think really its probably just a misinterpretation of experiences or something like that...
I dunno I just remember that when I was in the conferance room with his nurse and she was setting up the actual surgery she was talking about how I might get a note or something from another doc's office that he works with durring surgery because.. at least I *thought* she said that it was because there was a major nerve going on in there... but when you look at the spine and its mechanics, they all have nerve right near the spinal cord I believe, so maybe she was talking about major nerves in the spine in general.. who knows, I didn't go to school for this stuff, lol.
But I do know that after surgery, I had like patches of burn/dried/scabed kinda skin and I asked what it was, and was told they were "neuro markers" which I guess is where they were monitoring my nerves durring surgery. I had them on my arms and I think I found one on my neck.. but not possitive on that one. She said I might find them near my ankles too, but I can't recall finding any there. I hate EMG's though, they hurt, but I guess in some cases its a neccessary thing - its just to see if they can detect any nerve damage that may have happened from the spinal problem. But neurosurgeon doesn't do it, a neruologist does. I didn't mind it durring surgery though, lol... didn't feel a thing - ha ha - The beauty of anesthia.
Last edited by PearlDoves; 11-21-2006 at 05:19 PM.
This is a very sensitive and critical area they are working on. Major nerves and the spinal cord. Years ago, they would never have attempted it. I think all of these operations have monitoring of the nerves.
I think all the levels in the neck have very similar structures and nerves, with the nerve bundles going to different areas of the body. C-1, is a bit different and maybe requires a different handling, I don't know. I haven't heard of any ACDF patients that have had C-1 worked on. Generally, C5-6 and or C6-7 are involved, this is the most common in DDD and aging issues. Some have had surgery before, and then have an adjacent level(s) fail. Genetic and accident victims are different and could have other levels involved.