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SummerVA 11-09-2008 02:44 PM

NEWBIE here...Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic surgeon??
My problem started around August...I have always had mild lower back trouble, but early August I started having numbness in my right leg and what felt like a cramp in my right buttock.
I started seeing a chiropractor who put it down to Sciatica. Around mid-August my right leg began to ache when I walked or stood for any length of time. I stopped chiropracter visits and went to see an Orthopedic doctor. He referred me to a comes the "funny" part...
The neurosurgeon gave me 2 options...either epidural blocks (up to 3) or surgery, which he assured me was a simple surgery. After thinking it over a week or so I called his office to let them know I had decided on surgery. Someone was to call me back to schedule, but I didn't hear anything. After several calls I still couldn't get through to anyone. So....
tomorrow I planned on making a call to a different neurosurgeon, but I was also advised by a friend to call an orthopedic surgeon.
What I want to know is if anyone here has had this surgery and if it was done by a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon.
I hope I can make someone tomorrow understand the degree of my pain. I have had to stop working...and worst of all, my daughter is getting married this spring and I'm not even able to go shopping for a gown or enjoy planning with her. :(

Wymom94 11-09-2008 10:41 PM

Re: NEWBIE here...Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic surgeon??
Hi Summer, I think we can all understand your degree of pain -and empathize in full. What is the surgery called that was suggested for you? I would suggest a 2nd or even 3rd opinion from other neurosurgeons and I'd go with a neurosurgeon. I had a lumbar laminectomy in May this year for decompression of a flattened cord and to shave off bone spurs, both were causing horrific sciatica pain down both my legs. I'm free of the sciatica now and can stand and walk without pain. For me, a lumbar laminectomy was what I needed and I did have a neurosurgeon perform the surgery -after consulting with 4 neuro's for my lumbar problems and to interpret my lumbar MRI results. My sciatica became severe 7 months before I had my surgery and were a mild and off & on nuisance for about 7 months prior to that (just to share my time frame with you).
Good luck!

usps 11-09-2008 10:57 PM

Re: NEWBIE here...Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic surgeon??
Oh My God !!!!!!!!!!!!a Neurosurgeon Only!!!!!!!!!!!! With All Of The Nerves And Things To Consider....only The Best.....i Did An Orthopedic And My Nerves Are Severely Messed Up......sciatica Two Years Now And He Ran Into Problems And Was Not Trained In How To Resolve Them.....not Even A As Fast As You Can Away From An Orthopedic..........god Bless You...................................................a Back Surgery Nightmare

SummerVA 11-10-2008 04:53 AM

Re: NEWBIE here...Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic surgeon??
I don't remember him telling me the name of the surgery. He did give me a pamphlet that explained it, but it just details 3 different diskectomies. He did explain it as going in and cutting out the piece of "crabmeat" (his term to describe the tissue that is pressing on the sciatic nerve). He says it is a very simple surgery only lasting about 45 minutes with a small incision.

The neurosurgeon I'm going to try next opens in about 5 minutes. I just pray they will take me in soon and not make me wait weeks before I can get an appointment.
Thanks for the great replies and advice!

feelbad 11-10-2008 07:24 AM

Re: NEWBIE here...Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic surgeon??
just what are your findings on your MRI in the summary? if you could just type out that summary it would help in helping you. knowing what is the problem would really dictate what type of surgeon would be the best option for you. i am just wondering what you have since most orthos would not refer you to a neuro if there was not some level of either cord involvement or something within the canal around it. its just kind of odd,unless you had a pretty inexperienced ortho.

since this is in your lower spine,usually most orthos are really good at working those areas. the one area in which i personally would not want an ortho but a neurosuregon instead would be the c spine area since it is much more heavily innervated. but getting opinions from various specialists can never hurt. i obtained three seperate options before i even considered consenting to my spinal cord surgery. finding the surgeon who has the most experience in dealing with 'your" particular problem is really the way to go,reguardless of there actual title,you know what i mean? and you DO have the right to ask any surgeons office when you call just how much real experience any given surgeon has fixing your type of problem. just keep that in mind when calling around. but what you really do need kind of comes down to the findings/problems and where they are located in your spine area. some orthos can go into that spinal canal and some just cannot since their training isn't up there with certain neurosurgeons,and even with certain NSs,some cannot go there either. experience, knowledge and training in what YOU need. thats what it really comes down to in choosing any surgeon for any reason.

if you could simply state what your findings were,it would help alot. good luck,marcia

momzworkin 11-10-2008 08:15 AM

Re: NEWBIE here...Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic surgeon??
Seriously-Fellowship trained Orthopedic Spine Specialist are out there and do a fantastic job with this surgery. I had the bone spurs too and that is what he used to grind up and mix with the BMP for my fusion.
Which ever doctor you choose the important thing to look for:
Fellowship trained-this is another year or two of school specializing in a specific area-such as the spine
Spine Specialist-works on these kind surgeries specifilcy
Hospital Affiliation-this is important because some hospitals are better than others and you want to go to one that has a good rating-good nursing- staff that are trainied in this area
A doctor with an approachable PA and staff. This relationship is so important so you feel SAFE when you do this. An office never calling you back is simply unacceptable and I am glad you cut them off. Imagine if you had an emergency after the surgery? Would they be there? Doesn't sound like it.
I used an Orthopedic Spine Specialist-Fellowship trained and head of his practice. There are as many bad Neuros out there as there are Orthos.
God Bless as you make this decision! Let us know!
Michelle :angel:

BlueAtlas 11-10-2008 09:13 AM

Re: NEWBIE here...Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic surgeon??
Michelle is sooo right, as always! You can get a good or bad neurosurgeon and a good or bad ortho. Reading this board over time will be proof enough of that!

I used an orthopedic spine specialist who had done a fellowship. He was wonderful! I can't say enough good things about him. He came up with a plan for me when another doctor gave up on me and referred me on. Either neuro or ortho is fine. It's what you're most comfortable with. Some people are better off with one or the other, depending on their particular problem, but generally speaking, you can get excellent care and results from either one if you've found the right one.

I wish you the best!

Devon07 11-10-2008 11:45 AM

Re: NEWBIE here...Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic surgeon??
Wow.....Im glad I dont have to make that decision myself....Im going to have both at my surgery.....The way I feel about it is I would do my homework and learn just "who" the doctor some of the post below say can get bad in both and good in ortho is who I chose and he has a great track record....wouldnt even see me if I smoked and didnt take care of myself....he is the one who is bringing in all the doctors....Im having a general surgeon as well.....Whatever you choice is I hope the best for you.

The "Fellowship" statement was a very good one! ask around and you will learn about who your dealing with....the internet is helpful as well.

Devon.......................Dec 1st is taking a long time!:confused:

SummerVA 11-10-2008 06:09 PM

Re: NEWBIE here...Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic surgeon??
My MRI was done in September and here is part of the report:

L4-5: The disk is well hydrated and the disk height is preserved. There is a slight circumferential bulge and mild facet degeneration. No significant central canal stenosis. The neural foramina are minimally narrowed.

L5-S1: There is a right paracentric disk extrusion which completely effaces fat in the right lateral recess and compresses the right S1 nerve root. This is superimposed on a mild circumferential disk bulge. Minimal facet degeneration noted. The central canal overall is mildly narrowed and the thecal sac measures 8mm in AP diameter. There is mild bilateral neuroforaminal stenosis.

there is also the mention of small Schmorl's nodes at T11-12...when this first began I noticed having knots in my lower back and if I pressed on them that is when the numbness would worsen..... ????

momzworkin 11-11-2008 07:44 AM

Re: NEWBIE here...Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic surgeon??
Hi Again!
Spinal nerves pass through an opening in the spinal column called the foramen. Disc degeneration or bulging causes the foramen to become narrower. Once the foraminal opening reaches a point of compressing the nerves inside the spinal column, pain, numbness, and tingling often occur. Neural foraminal narrowing is a sometimes because of disc degeneration.
Stenosis is narrowing-this can be from the the thecal sac being compressed and "squeezing" out much like toothpaste from a tube. It can't go back in.
I am a huge advocate of my Ortho who did my surgery but if you are more comfortable with a Neuro because of the nerve clearly being compressed than that is what you should do!
Keep us posted!!

Michelle :angel:

SummerVA 11-17-2008 04:11 PM

Re: NEWBIE here...Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic surgeon??
I went to see my "new" neurosurgeon today and he decided I did need surgery. In fact, I am going in Friday morning at 7:30 for a lumbar diskectomy. I can hardly least I don't feel as hopeless as I did a couple of weeks ago.
Also...LOVE, love, love his staff...they are so nice and caring.
Thanks for the advice and good guys are awesome!:)

chelle39 11-17-2008 05:13 PM

Re: NEWBIE here...Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic surgeon??
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]
Nureosurgeon all the way! you have posted with me before so I personally didn't so well with my ortho!!! Having fusion done all over again to fix things that weren't done at the time along with permament nerve damage...!! But please get 2 o3 opoins I learned the hard way & went with my 1 st doc. cause I wanted a quick fix!! Well it's a disaster! Things will get better for me just talking a couple steps back!!:dizzy: Definetly think things through and read up on all of info that you get so your more prepared!! prayers are with you!!
:wave: Take care, Chelle[/FONT]

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