SpineUniverse Community Advice
Get help and share your story with others who know what you're going through.
Please register or log in to join the discussions!

Advice on finding new neurosurgeon to fix failed back surgery?

Started by 100000108172538... on 03/27/2014 10:01am

Does anyone have any experience in this area?

I've tried contacting a few doctors/spinal centers, sent them my most recent CT scans for review. One place said only that they'd recommend pain management (which I already am doing, have been since the beginning). The other place, a minimally invasive specialist, is very interested but of course doesn't take Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans, so it'd be self pay and/or financed by the practice, paid for by me. I live on SSD, this is not really an option for me.

How did you go about finding a reputable physician willing to work with you, when it's obvious that your last surgery failed? (All the signs show that my previous neurosurgeon failed to remove the offending discs at L4-5 and L5-S1, discs now calcifying in place and causing even more problems then they were before surgery.) My surgery was in September 2013, it's not really a situation where new scar tissue is building up or anything like that...

I'm now reaching out to other spine centers in my area, for advice and consultation, as well as asking my Medicare Advantage plan for some case management/assistance.

Any advice is truly welcomed.


Do you find this discussion helpful?

10 Responses


it is not likely that more surgery will fix your pain. Now that the ACA is off the ground you will be able to see neurosurgeons and "spine" clinics. One of the most difficult aspect of the whole chronic pain scene is the hope and pray that surgery can "fix " this. Im not sure how a neuro surgeon could fix the wrong problem but you sure need to find out if your disability now is due to his surgery.Could be that he messed up and you paid the price. My first neurosurgeon was supposed to be top notch,one of the 100 top surgeon in the west.No body tole me he was also a drug addict and often did operations while high.
After a decade of going form doc to doc thinking one more test or one more opinion would hold that magic bullet I found that my attitude was just wrong. it has been found that at least 45 percent of laminectomy result in "failed" back syndrome. This is due t the fact that they are fixing the wrong thing.Up to half of all pts with lumbar lamis had a sacroiliac problem and a "failed" result. That being the case one can try any and all treatments for the pain and maybe you will find the plan to help you.
I was able to have a pain managing doctor who also was into massage and accupressure as well as interventions such as epidurals and implanted cord simulator. this was very helpful for the first 5 or so years. find the best drug combo that will allow you to be mobil and keep the bad days down to once or twice a week. For me that was to lose weight (methadone got me to baby whale size) so losing weight with moderate exercise and strict drug treatment will help.The first step is to stop expecting a cure and start planning for this reality.It may include psych,neuro,pain and other mds to help you find the best way for you.


same here I have had nothing but PAIN since I had my c6 and c7 fused while I also had a bone spur that was pressing against my spinal cord, after the surgery I felt great for about 6 months and then BANG! the situation became DIRE! I wanted to be corrected and get help for the pain and after several visits to my family doctor he told me I now have a disease called trigeminal neuralgia. other wise known as the "suicide disease", its called this because most patients with it about 35% of them do commit suicide, believe me I feel like it daily however I have children and a wife to consider, but I was reading your issues above and thought Id comment to it, pain management is not a good answer because it only causes issues of dependency if they write for a narcotic to help you, and then issues with "masking the real reason your in pain in the first place", and believe me you do not want to be dependent on the type of meds they offer. but there is a way to feel better with those shots they put in your neck or back,. they are anti inflammatory type shots and they do not hurt to receive, if I were you I would indeed go to a pain management clinic however do not receive those meds due to the fact they only cause issues of dependency and addiction. I am dealing with addiction to methadone now and I am telling you it has destroyed my life while I thought it was giving me a better quality of life, and I really feel it has given me a better handle on the pain BUT the thing is many doctors will hand this type of medication out to there patients and after a while they stop it suddenly due to new laws, and after they do this its up to you to get help for your dependency or addiction. they simply do not care, and the state laws are becoming very strict and many doctors are under the radar because so many people are getting pain meds of this type, and so many people are now addicted to this type of narcotic so the government has stepped it up on the laws, and in my opinion it has become a very hard issue to depend on, "meaning you will find yourself not only dependent but dependent on the government and the doctor who writes for the meds" and like I said "they will write for it for a while and then suddenly stop". at this point you'll find yourself is more pain then you started out with. its a game actually, the doctors and the governments and the pharmaceuticals have a scam going on, they are simply out for them selves to get MONEY, your best bet is to try natural things to relieve pain and I know this is hard, but those shots in your neck or back may help you, I would go ahead and go to pain management but stay away from narcotics.. I hope this has given you some help and I hope to hear from you soon.


I had my Fusion because I had to. I was in pain working before just about a level 10. Post op I`m not working at a 7..But more than one surgery to get here. Don`t think the surgery failed till a Year post op. Then LASER surgery only. But it helped me only for my legs. I was the first one the Dr. did I think. They were using a hammer on my spine.But no numbness in my legs so I could walk the day after. That was orange NJ
. I wud look into that place. Sam


I hope that you have been able to find the doctor to help you. I don't know what state you live in but here in AZ. medicare patients are able to select a number of plans and the one that has the best options is called CAremore. it is as good as the Blue cross I had. I have also been to the "spineCenter" and even though I have 5 herniated disc (mid-low back), bone spurs,stenosis and scar tissue from being hit by a drunk driver). I did also develop an addiction to percocet.The reason being that the meds were not sufficient to help pain that I had.once I found the correct doctor and correct treatment plan I was able to stop methadone and use a different med that I take only once a day.If I could take anti-inflammatorys I would be be off all others but due to taking them in high does i became allergic.
Chronic pain is the most difficult challenge I have ever faced.
Once you find the right docs and the right plan it can be helped so that you have a decent life.
I sure hope you can find the help you need.

To Sam.... I am so sorry to hear you have trigeminal neuralgia.My mom had it and after having 2 surgeries and all her teeth extracted she went to home remedies and stopped it.her doctor did not beleive she has "cured" herself but he did tell his other patients what worked for my mom.
her pain was across her face from the edge of her nose ,up across the cheek and thru the right eye.
she had several episodes a day,. When the pain started and her eyes began to water she immediately applied Vics Vapo -rub to the cheek and above the eye over the brow.cant say it is scientific but her headaches stopped. As an emergency room nurse before my accident I saw several pts with this who did commit sucide. I hope that you can stay strong and find help for this terrible disease.


Sorry Pam...I forgot to add that if you are declared disable you may be able to go from SSI to SSD. It took me 5 years to get my disability.even though I was earning 1000 a week before my wreck the idiots at SSA kept saying I was faking and just wanted the check so I could be a bum. Someday chronic pain will be recognized as a real disease with a known cause.Several other debilitating illness once thought to be "all in your head" were found to have a scientific basis and treatment .Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and Epstein Barr were all found to be real. we can only hope that the cause and cure will be found soon.There are an estimated 10 million people in the US with chronic pain syndrome.About 2 million are in pain management treatment clinics. We are still having to fight to prove our illness and it gets me very mad at times.
I also blog regarding the politics of pain and current trends on my google blog and will be happy to provide a link if you are interested in reading more.


Hi pam I had spine surgery over two years ago, its really tough to find a good dr now days. The way I found mine was on the web, I would look up the spine surgeons and most have customer comments .that talks about how long was your wait to see dr, to what his bed side manner is to how the patient feels about the surgeon, and his work, and they also had some that didnt like the office help or waiting was to long.thats how I come across mine, I live in michigan and they have good surgeons here, when I decided after going thru the surgeons web sites I made a appointment, I had a fresh mri that I took with me, so thatwas out of the way, as for doing that, he took my pictures looked at them and told me I needed 8 screws and two rods, just like that when the cushion is almost shot then its a fusion and hardware, and he said thats what your spine needs, so I set up. Surgery about a 5 month waiting list, he also fixed a fracture in my spine that happend at a young age, he did a good job. I would go back to him again.


I notice a lot of comments about drug addiction. When I first got hurt they were giving me oxy 190 at a time. I immediately knew this was going to be an issue so I asked for something anything different. I was in severe pain and I am no superwoman so I needed something. My doctor suggested pain patches. I switched to them and feel a lot better on them. Where I know that my body is surely addicted to them by now. I don't get the high feeling that you get from the pills and I notice that the pain control is more level. If that makes sense? Any thoughts on this? Sounds like you guys may have been doing this longer than me. I was hit at 85mph on Feb 19, 2011 but who is keeping track :)


Surgery is not the only option to fix your back. Everyone thinks that surgery is the only way to get rid of pain but it's not so. Pain can be kept at bay through physiotherapy or chiropractic treatment.


There are 2 amazing revision specialists that I found out about through the Flatback yahoo group. Dr. Boachie in NY and one in TX I think it is Dr. Lagrone.


Hi Pam and others,

I hope you have found a doctor for your problem. I wanted to recommend a few things that can help.
Your State Board of medical practice will have a complete list of all MDS licensed to practice in your community, and more importantly any who have been sued or sanctioned or both.
If the MD has been in trouble there will be a record of what they did and how they were corrected.

next ,if you have insurance call the patient advocate or case managers and they will be able to help you find a pain management doctor, This is the best and for me the only way I got what I needed to be able to have a life.There are so many aspects to chronic pain its a good idea to find the best interventionist docs.
they can do epidurals ( i get them 4 or 5 times a year,Trigger point injections for "hotspots" and medication management as well.
its a difficult time to do this.A systematic assault on chronic pain treatment. In addition to placing a strangle hold on the sale of narcotics is causing turmoil in 20 of the states in the US.While the DEA has NO business in medical treatment, they have begun to try eliminating the whole long-term pain clinics and the use of Oxycontin,zanax ,oxy and hydrocodone and others.
I am activity pursuing a seat on the house judiciary committee who are trying to get a bill before congress to end this practice.
it is absurd!
Anyway if you need to talk I am happy to listen