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Double fusion surgery?

Started by lynshine1 on 09/16/2010 1:00pm

My double fusion surgery (L3-L4, L4-L5) was scheduled yesterday for October 14th 2010. I have been thru every other treatment alternative and nothing has worked. My depression is getting worse from the constant pain. However, I find myself scared to death to have this surgery.

Originally I fell at work (06/22/08)and herniated my L3-L4 disc badly. The worker's comp insurance sent me to an Ortho surgeon. This Ortho surgeon did a discectomy at L3-L4 on 01/31/09. After the surgery my pain, numbness, and tingling increased. I found out months after the surgery through an MRI taken after my surgery and compared to the MRI prior to surgery, that this workers comp Ortho doctor had removed all disc material from not only L3-L4, but L4-L5 as well. To make matters worse, I found out that he had been reported six times prior to my surgery for messing up back surgies. Unfortunately, being this was workers comp, I have no action I can take against the surgeon nor the WC Insurance Co. They are protected by law.

Now I'm facing this double fusion surgery on October 14th 2010, and I'm scared to death! Even though this ia a nuero surgeon and through my private insurance, NOT worker's comp. However, after that last experience on 01/31/09, all I can think about is: What if this new surgeon messes me up even worse.

Can anyone help me get thru this up coming surgery? Perhaps give me ideas of questions I should ask this Nuerosurgeon? Please help me... thanks :)

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4 Responses


Do your homework on him. Check out websites that rate doctors. Ask his nurse for patient referrals. You have that right. There are site one I have in mind is called vitals.com. Just google his name and you will find info on him. Get a second opinion. If he is a good doctor, he won't mind. good luck!


There 2 discussions that might help you a lot. The one I started` Failed back surgeries are the percentages right. Or I want some honest feedback ~either one will help you a lot. I had to go to a rehab center after my fusion. Make sure you have one in mind to go to. You're in for a few tough days. I am 10 weeks post surgery. It's starting to feel about the same as presurgery the pain level. I can barely put socks on without help. Make sure you get your tools that you need postsurgery. you'll get them at the rehab center. They have any questions just ask. Sam


I know it's daunting to even think about surgery like this,
but if you chose your surgeon wisely (I'm very big on
getting the best surgeon you can find and then asking him
a half hour's worth of questions about his skills, education
and how many of these surgeries he's done,) I think you'll
be very happy you had some input and asked the right questions.

How to increase the chances of finding a great surgeon?
Ask friends and relatives for recommendations. Talk with
anyone who has had back surgery of any kind or has had family
or friends with back problems requiring surgical intervention.
It needn't be the exact same procedure as yours. Ask other
doctors you trust. I got the name of my surgeon from my
eye doctor, who shares the same back problems with me,
and my foot doctor, who recognized my symptoms years before
I actually had major back problems and pain. Incidentally,
they both directed me to the same doctor at a teaching hospital
in my state.

Before you go for your initial appointment with your new surgeon,
check him out with the local and state medical licensing boards
for any disciplinary actions or sanctions. This is as easy as
picking up the phone and making a few calls to those offices,
which you can find in your phone directory.

Another great way to see what's happened with the other patients
your potential new surgeon has treated is to go to the local
courthouse and have someone there check, or show you how to check,
his name for malpractice suits. Civil complaints usually can be
pulled so that you can read them for details about the case.
You might even see something that will concern you enough to
contact the plaintiff(s) to find out more about what the issues
were. You'd be surprised at how many people are very anxious
to help you or to warn you.

Once you get to your new surgeon's office, have a list of questions
to ask him. These should be about the specifics of your back ailment.
If you'll need additional medical testing, ask what the procedures
are and why. If you're looking for a doctor to perform your surgery
(as I was,) ask him how many of the specific operations he'll be
doing on you he's already done on other patients and the rates
of sucess. Don't let anyone tell you doctors don't have this
information. They must supply stats to state and federal medical
boards for a wide variety of reasons. Ask if you can speak with
a former surgical patient of his with the same pre-surgical issues
as you have. Many surgeons team up new patients with post-op
patients of the same age, gender and issues.

What has been your surgeon's education and training background?
What is his title (neuro-, ortho- or general surgeon)? Has he
received training that allows him to call himself a "spine specialist"?
What else can be done, short of surgery, for your back problems?
How long will your procedure will be and how long will your
hospital stay be afterward? What is the usual pain relief
procedure post-op? Will your surgeon be monitoring your pain meds
or will a pain management doctor be doing this instead? What will
you get to take home with you for pain relief after you're discharged
from the hospital? Will you need to go to rehab after your
hospital stay? Will you need to wear a brace and for how long?
If you do, why? If you don't, why not? What are the main obstacles
to a good outcome for your particular type of surgery? What can
you do to make your outcome a postive one? When will you be
permitted to return to work? To drive a car? To cuddle with
your spouse? What restrictions will you have after surgery
and in the future?

As you think of more to ask as your own situation dictates,
write them down so you don't forget. Even consider taking
a small pad and pen with you and jot down some of the answers.
Tell your doctor you'll "be doing some research online later."

Good luck!


Hi, I live in Texas, where are you located, I got messed up in NC, and when I got to Texas 2 years ago I started to have problems. So, I did my research. I found a great neurosurgeon in Austin, Tx. Now he is fixing all my mistake that the doctor in North Carolina did. Just ask every question you can, like how long he has practice, how many surgery, and most of all what are your chances of approving...I will keep you in my prayers...my Doctor told me I will use a walker the rest of my life due to my nerous system is damage, and I have RSD.....good luck...just pray...