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Foot fusion(s) coming up & I'm scared! How do I check out my doc?

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Old 01-20-2005, 09:07 AM   #1
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imhdab HB User
Question Foot fusion(s) coming up & I'm scared! How do I check out my doc?

Hello all,

I'm scheduled for my first foot fusion and I've very nervous about it!

My 'saga' thus far:

I have hallux rigidus (both feet, diagnosed in approx. 1991). It had gotten more painful (AGAIN!) so I went to an orthopedic surgeon and he said he could remove the bone spurs without any problem... but that he had only done this procedure 1 time. (He was a general ortho - didn't specialize in feet or anything.)

So, I went to Dr. #2 - an orthopedic surgeon specializing in feet -- he said that just removing the spurs wouldn't work and that my only option at this point was fusing both big toe joints. I felt he was kind of abrupt and got "bad vibes" for some reason. (He did his fellowship at Mayo/Scotsdale so I'm sure he's OK...)

THEN, I went to a 3rd doc - an orthopedic specializing in feet who confirmed that fusion was the best way to go. I LOVED this doc and he has a great reputation BUT he's 2 hours away from me and NOT on my insurance plan. I went anyway and paid $$$ out of pocket for the visit (yesterday). I thought that was important before I let anyone cut on my poor feet!

SO... how do I proceed? I tentatively scheduled surgery for 2/28/05 with doc #2 and of course will go in and talk to him before hand. How can I check out this doc to see if he's really good? How do I know he's not going to totally mess up my feet? I can deal with a little bit of 'bad bedside manner' if he's good...

I'm scared! And confused... ANY suggestions or advise would be most appreciated!

Thank you soooo much in advance! (Next stop is to read all the posts on how to prepare for surgery.)


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Old 01-20-2005, 11:35 AM   #2
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dlh HB User
Re: Foot fusion(s) coming up & I'm scared! How do I check out my doc?


Well, being nervous is normal and having a fusion is the last resort. I finally had my left foot done Dec. 29th. you can read my threads...didn't go well. BUT my DR is great, I do not blame him, he did the second surgery on Jan 6th I think...I have lost track of time at this point. If you read any of my threads you will see that I am doing well now and even though it was hard and more than I bargined for I do not regret it because from everything I have read on this board and else where leads me to believe that the fusion will leave me with no pain. I don't know about you but no pain is a dream. You did the right thing getting a second and third opinion and raeding all the info you can get issmart. I did the same thing. I had several foot surgeries before so I knew what to expect some, although each one is different and everyone seems to heal least i knew some of what to expect. Ask your DR a TON of questions. He should take the time to ansewr them even if he doesnt have the best bed side manner...skill is what you want anyway. How many times has he done this procedure...what were the results...will you have hardware, will it stay in or be removed...what kind of anestsia will you long will it take for the surgery...will you go home or stay in the hospitol...will you have a cast? a bandage? How long? will you be non weight bearing? Will he control the pain? Get it in advance, I had to stop on the way home and needed it ASAP. Those are just a few questions I asked my DR. toe is fused at 15 degree...I don't wear alot of heals so that is the norm, find that out too. I have been on weight bearing for the entire time, I have a walker, I am such a cluts that I feel more stable with this instead of crutches. I have 3 more weeks n on weight bearing and I have 2 screws that will stay in. I am doing well today, everyday is better. I knew my DR but he told me to read on the internert about him...there are sites you can do that and even though I knew him and trusted him I did. I also have a sister in law that worked at the hospitol where I had it done, she went to the head of surgery and got me the low down on him(all good by the way). You are going to be fine. Ask the questions though, I am sure I drove my DR nuts but I don't care, I wanted to know every detail and I am glad I did it. Your DR shouldn't have a problem spending the time to explain it all to you, if you still feel bad about him after the next visit keep looking! I had a Dr tell me one time that there was a 50 % chance he could leave me deformed...thanks but no thanks. I want my DR to be sure of himself even to the point of being cocky...confidence can pay off. I have a pod...I just never found an ortho I felt good about but that doesn't mean there aren't any. My best advice is to not doubt your have to feel good about this person. I know this is long but I hope it helped at least a little. There are some really good threads on this board, take the time and read them! If I can be of any more help I check back everyday. Keep me posted on your journey!! Heal Well!

Old 01-20-2005, 10:49 PM   #3
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jdm HB User
Re: Foot fusion(s) coming up & I'm scared! How do I check out my doc?

I had a fusion almost one year ago. It was my third surgery on the same foot. The fusion was with an ortho who specializes in feet and ankles. She too was not covered by my insurance. I paid anyway and it was well worth the added cost. I felt very comfortable with her and her abilities. Trust your instincts. If you feel the most comfortable with Doc 3, it might be worth the extra money. Good luck to you.


Old 01-21-2005, 04:26 AM   #4
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susieblueyes HB User
Re: Foot fusion(s) coming up & I'm scared! How do I check out my doc?

Maybe you should get an opinion from a podiatrist?I have had several foot surgeries and had a podiatrist do all of them.Tough call, I know.

Old 01-22-2005, 08:34 AM   #5
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daxmargo HB User
Re: Foot fusion(s) coming up & I'm scared! How do I check out my doc?

my advice.. ALWAYS go with the DR you feel made you the most assured and comfortable. Dr # 3 sounds like she might be the best for you, have you thought about switching insurance companies and waiting until your new insurance kicks in before surgery? maybe an insurance company that offers out of network coverage.. if she doesnt take any insurance at all.. these procedures and theri follow up can be costly so you have to research it. I did this with my ankle fusion.. found a dr i loved, but he didnt take my insurance, so i switched plans to a point of service plan and my insurance covered 80 percent, meaning i only paid about 4k, which was great compared to 20k otherwise...good luck!

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