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Old 06-19-2019, 02:24 AM
 
Location: NJ
10,674 posts, read 21,348,205 times
Reputation: 8843

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avalon08 View Post
As far as the spine being a "mystery" to doctors, I think the mystery is whether surgery will actually help. My own lumbar diskectomy didn't help at all. The next step I was considering was a fusion but first, I got an opinion from two top spine orthopedic surgeons in city teaching hospitals. First was going to do it but was out of network for my insurance. Second said my disks were all too degenerated and that he wouldn't do a fusion unless the disks above were healthy enough to support the fused disks. I later got a tie-breaker opinion from a neurosurgeon, who agreed with the second doctor. When I got the medical report from the first doctor, the one who was going to do a fusion, his last sentence was "My only fear is that she won't have relief from her pain." WHATTT?? Why would I embark on a huge surgery with a six-month recovery period (at the time) unless I was pretty much guaranteed it would stop the pain.
Neither did mine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avalon08 View Post
But nerve pain is a tricky thing. I've seen/read about too many people who've had one back surgery after another. The first one may help but later problems develop with other disks, and it starts a slippery slope. Anyway, this is not meant to discourage you because of course the dropped foot is very serious, but don't jump into it without doing your research, asking a LOT of questions, and getting a second opinion. For example, I have nerve damage down my arm from degenerated cervical disks. I can no longer lift my arm properly, and now that has resulted in "scapular winging", where the shoulder bone juts out when I lift my arm. A neurosurgeon had recommended a cervical fusion. However, he couldn't guarantee that would resolve the arm problem. Since I was no longer having acute pain, I decided against the surgery...too afraid it would kick up some other nerves in there. He said some surgeons try to scare you with the "possible paralysis if you don't do the surgery" line, but he's not one of them. I appreciated that! So make sure you ask if the pain and dropped foot will definitely be resolved. Good luck!
This is where I'm at now, more disks are going.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChessieMom View Post
My mother had a spinal fusion in August 2015. One of the "best doctors" around for this particular surgery. She wound up with a dural tear that they did not discover until 3 days later. I can't even describe to you all the things that happened to her because of that. It was a nightmare. 2 hospitals, several infections, wound vac, flap surgery, rehab. She finally came home 6 months after her surgery, in a wheelchair. Had a hospital bed for 6 months. It was hell for a year after. She'll never be back to where she was either.

Be very sure about your decision.
It takes a person in their 30's a good year to recover and for the spine to fuse.

My 61 year old friend fused her spine last year, no matter what I said she did too much too soon. I'll be shocked if she's not walking with a cane come the end of summer after her one year anniversary. I told her, reality is she needed a good 2 years to heal from surgery
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:56 AM
 
13 posts, read 5,519 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turkeydance View Post
my story:

played golf with a retired ExxonMobile exec.
he was really good....but his back surgery limited his long game.
he told me: "if you cannot stand the pain One More Minute", have surgery.
if you can "get through the day" without it, go without until tomorrow.
back/spinal surgery is the coin toss of common surgeries.
Couldn't agree more!
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:42 AM
 
25,976 posts, read 32,984,687 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roselvr View Post
Neither did mine



This is where I'm at now, more disks are going.



It takes a person in their 30's a good year to recover and for the spine to fuse.

My 61 year old friend fused her spine last year, no matter what I said she did too much too soon. I'll be shocked if she's not walking with a cane come the end of summer after her one year anniversary. I told her, reality is she needed a good 2 years to heal from surgery
Time to heal was not the issue. The issue was the dural tear. It completely changes the recovery from a spinal fusion. It becomes a completely different recovery process. She had to stay flat on her back for months. Being in her 80s, certainly did not help. I wish the doctor had not advised her to do the surgery. But she’s a stubborn woman and you cannot talk her out of anything. She is very regretful of the surgery.
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:20 AM
 
245 posts, read 89,595 times
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I agree that you should get a second opinion. I had two levels fused a year ago and it's relieved all the pain in my legs and feet. The surgeon told me in advance that it would do little or nothing for my back pain, which is the case. If I had to make the choice again, I would still do it. The amount of relief is worth it.
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:03 AM
Status: "Be yourself. What's the alternative?" (set 17 days ago)
 
8,681 posts, read 10,836,637 times
Reputation: 12728
Quote:
Originally Posted by joepierson View Post
I had doctor say the same thing, had fusion, made it worse YMMV because it does work for some people.

Doctors won't admit it, but the spine is still a big mystery to them.

There are people with horrible MRI's but zero symptoms, and people with perfect MRI's who are disabled.
Right. Read Back Sense. Not sure when it was written, possibly still available, chock full of research, written by 3 collaborating MD's. It should be required reading for most people. Most back problems can not be correlated to an MRI, xray, etc., because chronic pain has nothing to do w/ any "physical abnormality." There are exceptions, but not that many. People have been conditioned to think "fix" problem and it "goes away" like our bodies are machines. I think this is an old paradigm of thinking that is going the way of the dinosaurs.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:30 PM
 
32 posts, read 12,203 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by townshend View Post

The spine is not a mystery to spine doctors. They have a thorough understanding of both its anatomy and physiology.

They know that low back pain may not due to an anatomical abnormality that shows up in an imaging study.

.
Well that is contradictory then, my MRI showed no nerve compression after my surgery (had a big compression beforehand), yet I had (and still have) an assortment of new problems which they just say "you got what you got". That sounds like a mystery to me.

Also, I realize they are limited in the solutions they have, removing a disc doesn't fix the underlining problem (the ruptured disc hasn't been repaired), fusion just puts strain on other parts of the spine. I suppose they need better solutions (artificial disc) from the medical joint companies, like they have for hips and knees, which seem to have a high success rate from the people I know. I mean didn't they fuse knees 50 years ago too? I imagine current back surgeries will be made illegal in the future, but it's the best they have for now, I kind of feel sorry for them in some ways because of the poor tech they have to work with, must be a horrible job dealing with all the failures.

Last edited by joepierson; 06-19-2019 at 12:38 PM..
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:44 PM
 
32 posts, read 12,203 times
Reputation: 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Bear View Post
Get to the very best neuro surgeon you can find. Do NOT go to the local guy who has two partners and advertises as a spine specialist.


Get to a major hospital like the Mayo Clinic, Vanderbilt, Duke sort of thing....check where Tiger had his surgery in Texas and might be closer to you, .
Also, Tiger had three failed back surgeries from the best sport's surgeons in the world before the 4th worked, so what surgery is performed is also important. The best surgeons in the world performing the wrong surgery doesn't do you any good.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:51 PM
 
Location: NJ
10,674 posts, read 21,348,205 times
Reputation: 8843
Quote:
Originally Posted by joepierson View Post
Well that is contradictory then, my MRI showed no nerve compression after my surgery (had a big compression beforehand), yet I had (and still have) an assortment of new problems which they just say "you got what you got". That sounds like a mystery to me.

Also, I realize they are limited in the solutions they have, removing a disc doesn't fix the underlining problem (the ruptured disc hasn't been repaired), fusion just puts strain on other parts of the spine. I suppose they need better solutions (artificial disc) from the medical joint companies, like they have for hips and knees, which seem to have a high success rate from the people I know. I mean didn't they fuse knees 50 years ago too? I imagine current back surgeries will be made illegal in the future, but it's the best they have for now, I kind of feel sorry for them in some ways because of the poor tech they have to work with, must be a horrible job dealing with all the failures.
My original pain management doctor swore that before 2010 there would be a stem cell surgery for spines making fusion not necessary; but I've yet to see any.
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