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Are two surgeons better than one??? (what to do?)

Started by Maggie1422 on 08/24/2010 11:52pm

Don't know if anyone else has had a neuro-surgeon suggest he have an ortho do the surgery with him?...If you have a minute - read my story...let me know what you think. The need for Surgery is getting nearer and I don't know what to do?.
I have Spondylolisthesis w/pars fracture, grade 1 slippage, L5-S1.......It was Jan. 09, and started
as pain in my feet! Then a back ache, which was initially diagnosed as a bad case of sciatica.
10 wks of nearly intolerable pain before an MRI diagnosis. I was lucky enough to speak with a PT
who recommended an excellent ortho-surgeon in the area...and he explained his technique for a
spinal fusion. I was blown away!! A retired cop..I kept pretty fit, worked out, yoga, and played on 2 different co-ed softball teams. Though over 50, I never had a back ache. It was not only the physical pain but an emotional loss I felt... On top of it all, by now it was March and our daughter was getting
married in June!! The doc said he would set me up for an epidural to see if I'd get some relief. It took 3 but I was able to travel for the wedding in June 09, and even danced (slow)... With tramadol, neurontin for leg pains, and 2-3 x wk 1/2 - 1 lortab at night - I was functioning. I even went back to the gym...walked the treadmill, even a few aerobic classes.. I had another epi that fall. In the meantime I went to a large University hospital and had a 2nd opinion.. A neuro-surgeon whose technique was the same...using bone graft from hip as opposed to cadaver bone etc.
Can't believe it has now been 1 1/2 years later from the day I first thought I had nothing more than a pair of tight shoes on. I just had my 6th epi, (they last about 5 months) and now I am starting to get side effects which my MD tested and said my body is not processing the steroids...so these will no longer be an option. I believe I am going to have to give in and have surgery soon...I am getting more and more nerve pain at nite.
MY QUESTION: has anyone had surgery for spondylolisthesis with two surgeons attending?
This is why I am asking......The 1st surgeon is logistically more accessible with a fellowship from one of the top leading spine centers in the east. (I have seen him a number of times and he has been very thorough and I like him)
I have seen the neuro-surgeon at the university hospital twice, both consults went well although it was only AFTER the 1st visit that his office called ME to come back in...It was at the 2nd consult that he proposed having another doctor perform the surgery with him. His reason - he said that periodically he and a colleague (an ortho) review certain cases and pick one that they feel would benefit from both a neuro and an ortho working side by side. (I asked if the surgery would go faster w/two working side by side and he honestly said no, cause only one can work at a time).. Having 2 docs "sounds" good but...I just don't know.. (and then there are the logistics - university hospital docs are 1 1/2hrs away) Although my husband is a great guy and said if I want these guys he would get us a short lease apt for 6 mo. so I could just stay there.
So are two docs better than one? - does anyone have any experience with this? Any feedback
would be appreciated...

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1 Response


Hi Maggie
I had an orthopedic surgeon doing the surgery. He had to have a neurosurgeon there in case he cut into my spinal cord. I actually thought it was better to have two surgeons there. One is watching and other . In my case I didn't have an option . My surgery was July 22 a PLIF (fusion) ,laminectomy and a laminotomy. My surgery was for spinal stenosis and a bulge disc. I thought I was in pretty good shape presurgery. I had to go to a rehab center for four nights. The surgery is a lot tougher than I ever could imagine. I am still in a lot of pain and I think it's just surgical. Any information you like to know please ask. Sam