HealthBoards (
-   Spinal Cord Disorders (
-   -   steroids/prednisone before possible surgery? advice please. (

lilydilly 06-24-2008 03:32 PM

steroids/prednisone before possible surgery? advice please.
Hi, I see my Neurosurgeon in 2 weeks, and wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't get me into surgery as soon as he can, mainly because I've been almost bedridden for 4 months with pretty severe symptoms from my cervical spine problems.
I went to my GP last week, to say I needed some kind of help to get me through the next few weeks, because the pain and vertigo and arm and hand symptoms are sometimes more than I can cope with at all.
He gave me a course of Prednisone tablets, but I'm very reluctant to take them, because I understand they lower your immunity to infection.
I don't want the surgeon to put off surgery because I've been on steroids, and I certainly don't want to go in for spinal surgery with an increased risk of infection.
My big question is this. Is it worth putting up with the horrible symptoms for a few more weeks, by avoiding the prednisone, or should I take them, even though I may be having surgery in the near future.
Thanks so much for any advice.

sammyo1 06-25-2008 03:59 AM

Re: steroids/prednisone before possible surgery? advice please.
Lilly if you are really that concerned call the surgeons office & ask them.
I Have taken them numerous times. If I was that bad I would probably attempt taking them. Does not hurt to put a call in & just ask, tell them your concern & that you dont want anything interferring with the surgery. I some how doubt it would but you woul feel better knowing. Sammy

lilydilly 06-25-2008 04:34 AM

Re: steroids/prednisone before possible surgery? advice please.
Thanks so much Sammy. Trouble is the surgeon's office sends out these strict instructions to PLEASE not contact them prior to your appointment, because they just don't have time to deal with issues till you see the surgeon. They suggest you go to your local GP and if he considers it necessary he should contact the surgeon's office, or go to your nearest ER if you have any concerns. I can honestly understand them having to do this, because this NS is simply flat out all the time doing what he can, and then dealing with emergencies and accidents and he tries to fit people in as soon as he possibly can. I might just ask the pharmacy about it. It's probably people who have to be on them long term that are at risk of lowered immunity. I just remember after my back surgery, the big BIG concern was risk of infection, and our hospitals here tend to be rife with Golden Staff, so I didn't want to take any unnecessary risk however slight.
Thanks for the reassurance. I guess if I was desperate enough I'd take it regardless. I almost was yesterday, but today has been better.
Thanks again. Lily

sammyo1 06-26-2008 05:17 AM

Re: steroids/prednisone before possible surgery? advice please.
Lilly, maybe it would be worth a call to your GP to ask their opinion.
I had to go for a extraction like two days before my surgery so I was put on an anitbiotic, when I told the hospital (they phoned to confirm the surgery time) they said that it was fine & that the surgeon would probably even like the fact that I was on it.
You never know the steroids can do wonders for the inflammation at times so could be a plus maybe not. I do know that I never worried to much if it was just the pack. I dont know if they gave you an injection but if they didnt maybe they should have. That could have helped with this waiting time before surgery. I know its hard to know the right thing to do. I have had relief at times from them & other times nothing. I always needed that extra boost of the steroid injection. Last injection & pack I had like 2 to 3 days relief, then nothing, but boy was those couple days nice. I hope all goes well for you, the waiting before surgery is tough. Good luck, Sammy

feelbad 06-26-2008 06:06 AM

Re: steroids/prednisone before possible surgery? advice please.
you have gotten some really great advice from sammy here(hi sammy). the usual amount of the dosage involved when taking what i am assuming is the medrol dose pack? is usually not enough to seriously impair your ability to fully fight off infection. if you have other conditions tho i would defintiely be calling your doc about it and ask. but if you are a normally healthy person who has a normal immune system,going on that wont really make a huge impact on you.

just had one big thing to say about your surgeon? seriously,most surgeons actually welcome questions espescially when you are about to have an actual surgery done by him? that no phone call policy thing is really a rather sick thing to have in place you know what i mean? i have never ever even heard of any surgeons office having a policy like this. when you think of all the possible ramifications of possibly having something going on that could quite possibly complicate or even compromise your ability to even have a surgery done on that one day that you actually even GET to speak with your surgeon on(or just someone in his office that 'could have' seen something coming if you actually had that option to just make a simple phone call there??),its kind of a stupid policy to have,even from a liability standpoint on his end too. relying solely upon someones primary on all things that could possivbly effect someones surgery when the primary is simply not an actual surgeon or even qualified in some cases to even make that call,well things could happen ya know?

the thing i would be wondering about for you post op is if they are this way PRE op,how in gods name are you going to be treated POST op when you have really important questions that need some pretty immediate answers. every surgeon is just supposed to have that 'team' of staff in place that is supposed to be doing the questions thing as well as other things too. it does not matter just how "busy' that surgeon actually is,it is his STAFFS job to just do this for his patinets. i have been thru six seperate surgeries and an aneurysm coiling just all since 01,and i have NEVER ever seen this in any surgeons office before,even the one neurosurgeon who i really thought was a total ***.

i know your surgery is close,but have you possibly considered maybe even getting a second opinon or seeing a different surgeon? i am just concerned about YOU and how well you will be taken care of post op and with any real follow up that may need to be done with you. i know sammy has had issues with her ortho following her shoulder surgery. it DOES make a big difference in the surgeon and the staff he has that does any surgery on us.

i am not trying to freak you out here before your surgery but i would have a big problem with any surgeon who told me i could not actually call BEFORE they do an actual surgery on me if i had ANY questions about anything,ya know? sometimes you just really NEED that good solid info(immediately) that you just cannot actually get thru your primary. but one other option you may have here at this point if you DO have any actual surgical type questions is to actually call the surgical dept of the hospital where you will be having the surgery done. they would be able to probably answer the majority of any surgery questions both pre op and post op. just tell them that your surgeon does not DO questions. they probably already know that given this ridiculous policy he has and have had people already calling THEM with questions instead of the "normal" route where you can actually call a surgeons office with them?

i am assuming if you are having this surgey that you were most likely sent out some sort of info from someone in that surgical dept/hospital already with the usual surgery stuff to inform you? if so,there is always a phone number there too that they tell you you can actually call with any questions. this is just another option for you hon. this is just such a stupid and possibly dangerous policy to realistically have in place at any surgeons office. just when you think you have heard it all ya know?

hopefully mr reclusive is worth it in the surgery dept and you will be in great hands in that area. but you always have the options i mentioned and also your pharmacy. its good to have choices and options. good luck with the surgery and i hope his policy does not extend to post op care too. this is just so stupid,really. take care and i do hope things go well for you hon. please keep us posted. marcia

lilydilly 06-26-2008 03:01 PM

Re: steroids/prednisone before possible surgery? advice please.
Thanks so much Sammy and Feelbad for all your advice and care.
Feelbad, I probably gave the wrong impression about the surgeon. You see, at this stage, I just have an initial appointment with him. I have the first MRI and other tests the day before I see him, and they have no clue about me, only my referral from my GP. It's me who is assuming that I'll be having surgery, because I went through exactly the same thing 7 years ago with my lower back. And my GP is convinced that there's not too much wrong, simply because I don't have a LOT of arm pain and tingling, and because my cat scan showed only mild damage. I went through all this before I had back surgery too..... nothing showed until I had an MRI and then this surgeon put me in for surgery the same week I first saw him. I've read all I can on here, and my symptoms seem so typical for cervical disc damage of some kind, and it is so severe that I quite simply can't do a thing except lie down, or else I lock up in extreme pain. The pain down my arms, tingling, numb feet etc, have all gotten worse too... I won't go into it all.
Just that this is only an initial appointment with the NS, and if, after I see him, he'll recommend surgery, then he is available both pre and post op. He actually offered us a bed in his own home when I went to see him for my back surgery.
Also he is 1000 kilometres from where we live, so even if I rang him, he can hardly give medical help without having first seen me etc.
Hope all this makes sense. ... In the "how to prepare for your first appointment" letter they send out, they say, that if you are in extreme pain, if you are worried, if you need help, then either get your local GP to ring him, or go to a certain hospital where he will be able to see you... that's 1000 k away too. Seriously this NS is one of the most popular in Australia for spinal surgery, and a lot of people are waiting months to see him.
As far as his office is concerned, at this stage, all they know is I'm someone who has an appointment for neck pain, nothing else. It's my assumption I'll be having surgery, but I'm pretty certain of it, having been down this road before, with me and also with my husband. Hope I'm making some sense here.... it's the situation that is awkward, not the surgeon. If my GP recommended cortisone, they could really only say, well, do as he says. Trouble is I educate myself too much about the risks and side effects, and I've found out that, shock! horror!, some of the doctors don't always know what I know. I don't want that to sound arrogant, it's just that I've probably got time to look up what is relevant to me, whereas they have hundreds of patients.
Anyway, I really do appreciate your concern and your care. But the surgeon, well, I'd honestly not let anyone else in this country touch my spine but him. Someone in a forum here in Australia, described him as a "genius and a humanitarian, but also just a plain nice bloke", and it's true. I've written about him in some of my other posts, so I won't continue to rave.
And yes, I could ring the local GP's office and ask about the cortisone, but seeing as he prescibed it, he's going to say it's ok. I find there is more help on these boards than anywhere.
I suppose my other concern, is that IF I have surgery, (I should say IF, but I truly know it's WHEN) then if the surgeon can't fit me in soonish, then I might need the cortisone to see me out while I'm waiting, and after travelling 1000 k to see him, I could be in enough of a mess to need it. So I thought I should keep it in reserve for when I'm really desperate.
OH boy,, I've written way too much. It's so so good to have caring people you can talk to who know just what this can be like. I'm just very cautious about drugs because I react badly to so many and I'm also cautious about doctors because I've been given some very wrong advice and diagnoses over the years... with my back, they kept telling me for months that it was only muscular strain, because my Xrays and catscan showed nothing, until I could no longer walk, and that's when they finally gave me a referral and I first saw the NS that I rave about. He did all his own tests and had me in surgery within a week for a disc that he described as a shattered mangled mess. This business with my neck is following the exact same pattern.
I hope you're both going ok.. I read all your problems too and can just sympathise and feel for you as well.
Kindest regards Lily

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:08 PM.