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Old 03-30-2011, 10:01 AM   #7
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Location: Missouri
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Re: Understanding MRI Results?

It is a bit scary, isn't it? I can still remember my first appointment with a spine specialist and I was a wreck going in, believe me. Unfortunately, I wasn't well versed in issues concerning the spine and blindly agreed to surgery since that's what the neurosurgeon advised. It was not the right thing to do! If I knew then just half of what I know now, I would have gotten at least 1 more opinion, maybe 2, and one of them would have been an orthopedic spine specialist.

In hindsight, I realize that the surgery was possibly unavoidable, but there was no other options offered to me. Afterwards, I continued to have a good deal of pain, sometimes worse than before the surgery. After much prodding, the neuro agreed to more testing and said I had re-herniated that same disc and another laminectomy was needed. Again, I agreed and that began my long journey.

Since you have time before seeing the specialist, try keeping a diary that records your pain levels....what you were doing, what makes the pain worse, what helps the pain, where the pain is and what kind of pain it is. That will help paint a picture for the doctor and along with your test results, will help him to offer options for treatment. Do get at least a second opinion, not from a dr. in the same practice. Since this first appt is with a neurosurgeon, it would be good to get your second opinion from an ortho who specializes in spine and devotes his practice to the spine only.

There is tons of information on the internet that can help you understand what is going on, and what kind of treatment might be helpful. Learning some of the terms will allow you to interact with the surgeon better and will also make you more comfortable.

One last thing....I have always found it helpful to have another person with me. That second set of ears helps, and I have found most doctors to be more forthcoming when there is a "witness" so to speak.

I hope you will stay in touch and keep us updated on how you are doing.

Best wishes.

Lumbar surgery x 7 over the last 30 years.
cervical fusion...2 levels
medtronic pain pump implanted
Last surgery Oct, 2010, 3 levels

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MagicPotion (04-01-2011)