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View Full Version : Need back surgery so I need some advice


RockRunner
05-17-2007, 10:07 PM
Well, looks like I abused my body bad enough that I now need to have my back cut. I have a severely budging disk and a near bursting disk that need to be fixed. After I just told Red Chili not to cut into his knee I now face a similar dilemma. Another choice I have is the Epidural shot, 85% success rate with no real answer as to how long it lasts.

So now I need some advice from all of you. Have you had this problem? Do you have this problem or know of a person who is in the same boat? What did you or the other person do? What was the result? What would you do different? :o

The place that I am going to is called Panorama Ortho, real nice place but fast to suggest the knife. I will have to do some more research on them but that is another task. :rolleyes:

One good thing that came from this is that I at least have a reason why my back hurts so much. Also got some real good pain meds, and that is saying a lot considering the meds I take now. ;)

Any advice is appreciated as always :cheers:

Shark Bait
05-17-2007, 10:17 PM
My mom used William Choi, who is Chief of Neurosurgery at SkyRidge. She had both back and neck surgery done there and was very happy. He's at 303-790-2225. NeuroSpineOnline.com

Red_Chili
05-18-2007, 08:02 AM
My wife had almost the identical problem. Her legs were going numb!!!:eek:

With great trepidation we found our only option (besides a wheelchair :eek: :eek: ) was back surgery. I had always heard horror stories. She went to Littleton Hospital, her surgeon was Shawn Markey (the same guy who removed the nail from the guy's head who had pinged himself with a nailgun and didn't realize it - went into his brain).

Long story short, he rebuilt her disks (NOT fusion), strengthened them, and she is now 95% normal (some nerve damage remains and sometimes she gets tingling and numbness in one leg, but it is not from current nerve pressure).

Would we do it again? In a heartbeat. Full normal use, flexibility, she just has to be more realistic about what she can lift.

Crash
05-18-2007, 08:29 AM
Let me guess, Tom, L4 and L5 discs? I had the same problem which was repaired as well as could be by partial discectomy in 1994. I had dealt with the pain for 22 years and, in retrospect, wish that I had undergone the knife years earlier as the pain was intense for way too long prior to surgery. Relief was instantaneous so it was difficult to take it easy and rehab per doctor's orders. 13 years later I have no regrets. Good luck! Roderick G. Lamond was my doc and surgery was performed at PSL.

Chris
05-18-2007, 10:19 AM
I'm in the same situation- L4, L5 & S1, bulging, ruptured and disintengrated. I use the round of epidurals with very good results for the last 3 years. No bad results can really happen - they either work or don't. :thumb:

Surgery isn't always successful so take a conservative approach. I suggest Dr. Pamela Knight with Denver Vail Orthopedists at Skyridge or Lowry.

Just my 2

74fj40
05-18-2007, 11:22 AM
Ditto on the L4, L5, S1 - went through years and years of conservative treatment (10) only to arrive at the surgery outcome which resolved the pain.
Had fusion surgery just over a year ago - Dr Frey at Colorado Comprehensive Spine - am very happy with the results.
PS - It's VERY expensive surgery, so make sure of your insurance coverage, and it means 6-8 weeks off work, so make sure your STD coverage is adequate.
Rob

I'm in the same situation- L4, L5 & S1, bulging, ruptured and disintengrated. I use the round of epidurals with very good results for the last 3 years. No bad results can really happen - they either work or don't. :thumb:

Surgery isn't always successful so take a conservative approach. I suggest Dr. Pamela Knight with Denver Vail Orthopedists at Skyridge or Lowry.

Just my 2

RockRunner
05-18-2007, 05:12 PM
Thanks for the info guys and you were right. L4 and L5 going into S1. My discs are still in decent shape so no fusing or rebuilding needs to be done. What they are proposing is to remove the "bumps" from the discs and take away the pressure.

Relief would be immediate, with about a 2-4 week recovery. I will be able to go to work two days after the surgery, it is also an out patient surgery so no overnight stay for me.

I need to get the costs of both options and see how much my insurance pays for each. i have pretty good insurance coverage so i am lucky regarding that part.

I have heard a bunch of horror stories from women who say the epidural has caused them all kinds of problems. I have not decided one way or another as of now but do like the idea of permanent relief vs having shots every so often, just more changes for mistakes.

Time for more research and thanks for all the comments so far.

corsair23
05-18-2007, 05:34 PM
I've got nothing to add other than ask the question that wouldn't the epidural just mask the pain? Seems like masking the pain could lead to potential further damage as the pain is there for a reason right? The body's way of telling you to pay attention 'cuz something isn't right. Just thinking out loud :)

Chris
05-18-2007, 10:08 PM
I'm intrigued by the "horror stories from women who say the epidural has caused them all kinds of problems" and can't honestly imagine what these problems would be.

The epidural doesn't mask the pain, the steroid injection reduces the inflammation causing the pain. I understand that it works for about half the people of which I'm happy to say I'm one. Anyone with a back like this is well aware of the limits they have to impose even when feeling good.

Someday I'll probably have three discs fused which will put additional stress on the remaining flexible discs and cause them to wear faster. It's my hope that I can put it off for another 10 years when my lifestyle will be less active. :)

RockRunner
05-19-2007, 10:59 AM
Jeff,

Red Cruiser Chris was correct explaining that it removes the swelling for a while. The thing is that not everybody reacts the same to the steroids so it may or may not work.

Chris,

What I have been told by three women in the office is that they have a dead spot where they got the injection. Also some have pain in the area that can not be explained others have occasional swelling and tingling in the legs. There is a whole list out there and when I asked my doctor about them he did not disagree with them.

Everything has its ups and downs, I am looking for the best long term return with minimal risk to the body.

As for cost I am sure that all the suffers out there will agree, there is no price to high to pay to get relief from this pain.

Time to read up on some more info.

Chris
05-19-2007, 03:21 PM
Interesting Tom, glad I don't have any of those issues but I question whether the problems are from the injections or the underlying issue. I'm just happy it's working for me I guess.

It sounds like your doctors approach is conservative. If I were you I'd be tempted to try the "shaving" to relieve the pressure. It looks like you're going to do your research which is always good.

Best luck with whatever you decide!

Rezarf
05-19-2007, 03:51 PM
Well Tom,

I had herniated L5-S1 on a mountain bike back when I was in shape. I had such bad things happening that I couldn't tie my own shoes anymore. Doctors were quick to tell me that invasive surgery is/should be a last resort. I went with 3 epidural steroid injections(this explains my massive muscles ;)) and have had about 97% recovery. Every once in a while when I sneeze I can feel sciatic pain, other than that I am pretty good to go.

Try EVERYTHING before invasive procedures.

Just my .02

Drew

corsair23
05-20-2007, 12:30 AM
Jeff,

Red Cruiser Chris was correct explaining that it removes the swelling for a while. The thing is that not everybody reacts the same to the steroids so it may or may not work.

Interesting stuff :)

I never realized that there are different types of epidurals. Quick reading on that and now I see where the epidural shot is a generic term and that the docs can put differect drugs in the "shot". Learn something new everyday :thumb:

BPMOU
05-21-2007, 07:45 AM
RockRunner,

Two things, first make sure that you go to a spine surgeon, and not just an ortho doc. With something as serious as what you have described you want someone who deals with these things on a daily basis. Second, there is a doc in Aurora who is one of the first to perform an artificial disk replacement. This is a procedure that has been performed for years in the UK, but received FDA approval about two years ago. I'm not a doc, but you make check with Dr. Kleiner about the procedure and your options. His name is Dr. Jeffrey Kleiner and his practice is called Spine Conultants PC, and his number is (303) 671-6400. Dr. Kleiner is a great doc, and he will tell you the truth about what can be done. My mother-in-law has worked with him for 10+ years.

Goana
05-22-2007, 05:30 AM
Try searching the net for info on spinal surgery. I happened to read about the Cleveland Clinic's excellence in dealing with heart disease in a business mag. So I've decided to have them do an (almost) outpatient procedure rather than my cardiologist's associate in Aurora.

My logic is this: if it's a leg or a lung or an arm or anything else you have a spare of, go to Aurora. If it's your one & only (spine, heart, etc.), go to the best place you can find.

Usually the best person is no more expensive on the front end & way less expensive in the long run. Aren't you worth it?

RockRunner
05-22-2007, 07:58 AM
Well Tom,

I had herniated L5-S1 on a mountain bike back when I was in shape. I had such bad things happening that I couldn't tie my own shoes anymore. Doctors were quick to tell me that invasive surgery is/should be a last resort. I went with 3 epidural steroid injections(this explains my massive muscles ;)) and have had about 97% recovery. Every once in a while when I sneeze I can feel sciatic pain, other than that I am pretty good to go.

Try EVERYTHING before invasive procedures.

Just my .02

Drew

I will trust me, that is why I am so mad about this whole ordeal. One wrong decision or move by the doctor and my life can be worse than it is now.

RockRunner
05-22-2007, 08:01 AM
RockRunner,

Two things, first make sure that you go to a spine surgeon, and not just an ortho doc. With something as serious as what you have described you want someone who deals with these things on a daily basis. Second, there is a doc in Aurora who is one of the first to perform an artificial disk replacement. This is a procedure that has been performed for years in the UK, but received FDA approval about two years ago. I'm not a doc, but you make check with Dr. Kleiner about the procedure and your options. His name is Dr. Jeffrey Kleiner and his practice is called Spine Conultants PC, and his number is (303) 671-6400. Dr. Kleiner is a great doc, and he will tell you the truth about what can be done. My mother-in-law has worked with him for 10+ years.


Thanks for the info I will call him.

RockRunner
05-22-2007, 08:11 AM
Try searching the net for info on spinal surgery. I happened to read about the Cleveland Clinic's excellence in dealing with heart disease in a business mag. So I've decided to have them do an (almost) outpatient procedure rather than my cardiologist's associate in Aurora.

My logic is this: if it's a leg or a lung or an arm or anything else you have a spare of, go to Aurora. If it's your one & only (spine, heart, etc.), go to the best place you can find.

Usually the best person is no more expensive on the front end & way less expensive in the long run. Aren't you worth it?

Funny thing about that, one of our best friends went to the Cleveland Clinic. His daughter is a doctor and found one of the best heart specialist there, long story short, he had a stroke during the procedure and brain clothes etc. He is still in recovery in Arizona now and there are three different lawsuits going on due to this surgery.

I will look for the best surgeon out there or clinic if I go the shot route. After all my surgeries and other problems I have learned to find the best I can afford and then some.

Thanks for the advice.

Chris
05-22-2007, 08:24 AM
make sure that you go to a spine surgeon
<snip>
artificial disk replacement


Just a couple thoughts:
Surgeon's tend to recommend surgery, it's what they do.
Artificial disk replacement is too early in development to risk.

Just my opinion.

I've had surgeons recommending surgery to me for years. Only one gave me a simple way to determine if it's really needed. When you can't lift your weight while standing using only your toes you need surgery.

:thumb:

BPMOU
05-22-2007, 08:49 AM
Chris,

Are orthopedic docs surgeons? They are not all the same, Dr. Kleiner recommends many people to have diffrent types of injections if it will reduce the pain. Sometimes you follow progressive therapy and sometimes the pain is so bad that surgery is the next step, sometimes it is not. The artificial disk is relativly new, but something to be aware of, and should be discussed with a Doc. I am new to this forum, and was really trying be helpful. My father-in-law had severe back pain and had to have surgery to relieve the pain, so I know how debilitiating it can be. When I look for a specialist, I want someone who is looking to the advances of medicine to make the life of their patients better than it was when they first came to see the doctor, not someone who is status quo because they are old school. Many good docs out there, and Dr. Kleiner is just one of the ones that I know.

RockRunner
05-22-2007, 09:16 AM
Chris and BPMOU

You are both right, the deal with an Ortho vs Spinal surgeon is simple. You look for the specialist in anything you need to have done. I had my knees done by Orthos that only worked on the knees primarily, they had the latest and greatest info and were up to date on their certs.

As far as shots vs surgery, that is a hard call to make. I think I can make it with shots for a while and they may work great but on the other hand they may do nothing for me. Won't know till I try it if I try it. Surgery is a one time shot, it either works or you are in more pain. Sure they can go in again and try to fix it but at that point you may be done for life.

Both of you make valid points and I appreciate both of them, they represent the different ways of fixing the problem and that is what I am looking for.

Thanks to all so far that have been replying with advice. BTW It took me two walk abouts to finish writing this little blurp, sitting just kills me so I have to go and walk around.

Red_Chili
05-22-2007, 09:21 AM
Owwww...:(

Chris
05-22-2007, 09:27 AM
BPMOU-

My orthopedist is not a surgeon and under her care I've been pretty much pain free for three years. She did refer me to a surgeon who said he would operate if that's what I wanted, I passed.

I know how debilitiating these problems can be and know a number of people that have had surgery. Some are happy with the results and some are not. I wasn't intending to be critical of anyone, just cautioning that surgery is not always the best solution.

treerootCO
07-01-2007, 09:50 PM
I went from a cripple to better than I have felt in the last few years if that helps your decision any ;)

nuclearlemon
07-01-2007, 10:00 PM
just remember....for every job, there are a few flunkies. just pray you don't get the flunky. :hill:

Shark Bait
07-01-2007, 10:00 PM
I went from a cripple to better than I have felt in the last few years if that helps your decision any ;)

Hope you're gonna take it easy for a while, Mike. You crazy guy. No lifting transmissions until further notice. :eek: