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Lumbar Spinal Fusion / Disc Replacement - what spinal surgeon did you see?

(33 Posts)
PavlovtheCat Mon 03-Dec-12 14:05:38

So, for those who don't know, I have a torn/prolapsed lumbar disc, dehydrated and basically causing me no end of trouble. Furthermore, it may be that my spine is now 'unstable' due to the dehydration of the disc not fully supporting the spine and this is why my back 'goes' every few weeks, seemingly randomly.

To those who 'know' my back problem history <waves>.

Today, I have seen someone from the spinal pathway, for the second time, follow-up (that they forgot about til I insisted on a referral, he acted like it was always his intention\! but nevermind).

Outcome was:
*left calf is weaker than right calf, visibly so (muscle degeneration? and not able to stand on tippy toes etc) as well as other signs of numbness, pins and needles - suggests that the nerve may be trapped/pressed against.

*I am now a candidate for surgery, based on my age, my weight, my determination not let this fuck me up (my interpretation, he said 'my attitude), my pro-active stance of managing it so far, the symptoms, lack of success with other pain meds etc, etc.

So, MRI to be completed within 6 wks, then, depending on the outcome I will have a consultation with
a) neurosurgeon to discuss discectomy/partial discectomy
b) orthopaedic surgeon to discuss spinal fusion. Whereas before this guy attempted to persuade me away from surgery, he is now thinking I might benefit from it (not sure how much the fact that previously they had no spinal orthopedic surgeon at the hospital and now they do has to do with his change of mind)
c) both
d) full disc replacement discussion - means referral to another hospital and apparantly my GP has to do that hmm it seems a bit like wanting another surgeon's view is betrayal or competition!

So. Seeing as though I am allowed choice in all this. And because spinal surgery is such a delicate procedure, and so many medical professionals have different opinions about spinal fusion, I am seeking your recommendations, preferably in the South West but not essential:

*Has anyone had full disc replacement? was it successful? What surgeon performed the surgery and where? was it done on NHS or privately?

*Who did your discectomy or spinal fusion? private or on NHS? what was your outcome? What surgeon/hospital performed the surgery?

MsElleTow Fri 07-Dec-12 21:26:54

Pavlov sorry I've not got back to you. I don't know his private fee, I'm afraid, but I don't live within the Notts NHS area, but go there for all of my treatment. He has said that even if we have to move I can continue to see him for as long as I am prepared to travel to see him.

SaltedCaramels Fri 07-Dec-12 21:32:28

I had a lumbar fusion 20 years ago at the nuffield orthopaedic hospital in Oxford - i had spondylolisthesis, and had been unable to walk for a few months. The op was a miracle for me, changed my life.

PavlovtheCat Sat 08-Dec-12 10:02:06

me his private initial consultation is actually very reasonable. It would be worth paying for the initial conversation at least.

MsElleTow Sat 08-Dec-12 10:15:55

Oh that's good Pavlov. He is really excellent.

Salted I had an op at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Hospital, it left me unable to walk unaided!

TheFollyfootandtheivy Sat 08-Dec-12 10:28:18

I had my discectomy done by a neurosurgeon. Some Orthopods do discectomies too, but I definitely wanted a neurosurgeon. After seeking advice from medical friends and ex colleagues in operating theatres - I went to Rod Laing at Addenbrookes. He was very straight about the likely outcome in terms of complete pain resolution ie it wasnt going to happen, and I am pleased that he was so honest about that. Other friends who saw different surgeons were told they would be 'cured' of all pain so were shocked to discover this wasnt the case post op.

Surgery went extremely well and I was home the next day (cervical disc rather than lumbar by the way). The surgery did exactly what he said it would. More about him here

PavlovtheCat Sat 08-Dec-12 22:45:16

ms and salt it just goes to show that one hospital does not guarantee the same outcome for each patient. Not sure if it were the same surgeon, but people are all different, surgeons and patients alike. So, I know that even if I were able to get the best surgeon in the country to perform miracles on my back, there is still no guarantees of a good outcome.

thefolly I have heard about him from someone else! <adds to list>

Pyrrah Sun 09-Dec-12 02:45:54

Entirely depends on the surgeon as to what they do or don't do. Mine does pretty much everything - but then he is a purely spinal neurosurgeon.

I saw an orthopod first - never again. I will only let a neurosurgeon near my back.

Pyrrah Sun 09-Dec-12 02:55:40

Thefolly - I also appreciated my surgeon telling me that there was little that could be done for the back pain, but that there was a good chance of a significant reduction in leg pain and in restoring more function (I had significant issues walking by the time I had the op).

As a result I was very happy with the outcome. Had I been promised a return to painfree I would have felt a bit conned and let down.

Oh, I also got nearly 2 years of treatment with the spinal physio at the RNOH which was wonderful, plus referrals to pain teams to get my drug cocktail sorted.

I was an NHS patient which meant everything moved at a snails pace, but the care was first class.

One of the things I do like about Mr Casey is that he is very conservative. If he doesn't think operating is a good idea then he will say so, he also believes that people should share responsibility for their care, so no problem if you get reading on the internet and then challenge what he says. I wanted to know why he wanted a laminectomy not a laminotomy and he took a lot of care to explain why he felt one would be better than another.

When I had issues later on with scar tissue forming and pressing on another nerve, he explained why he felt that going in again would exacerbate the issue at that time and we would review it later.

Oh, and he's very, very neat - I wore a backless dress to a ball 2 years after my operation and despite having a 3 inch scar on my lower back, no-one even noticed it he'd placed it so well!

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