View Full Version : New to forum, considering surgery

04-24-2010, 03:44 PM
Hello everyone, and thank-you so much for sharing all of your wisdom and experiences. I have been reading all of your posts for months, and decided it was time to jump in. I am 51 yrs. old, with a T56/L73 curve. I have never had sugery. Over the past year my pain level has increased significantly, and my activity tolerance has decreased. I have had one appt. with Dr. Neuwirth in Nyc, who suggests a T5-pelvis fusion. I have an appt. with Dr. Lonner in June. My questions to all of you are:1) what determins if the surgery needs to be both ant/post, and do all A/P surgeries require lung deflation and detaching the diaphragm? 2) how did all of you deal with surgeons who don't accept insurance but state they will "work with your out of network" benefits? 3) for those of you who have seen him, is Dr. Boachie worth the added out of pocket expenses, or are other NYC specialists just as good? Thank-You in advance, and sorry for all of the questions. I have thousands more, but will only ask a few at a time!:)

Lori in PA
T56/L73 curves, needing surgery, scared silly!

04-24-2010, 03:51 PM
I can't help with your questions, but wanted to wish you well on your scoliosis journey. Plenty of knowledgeable people here, to answer your questions. Best of luck!

04-24-2010, 04:22 PM
Hi Lorz-

Welcome to the forum! I am getting my surgery done by Dr. Boachie. I haven't had the surgery yet, I am getting it on June 8, but I think it is worth the extra cost. I know a few people that have had their surgeries by him and they have nothing but great things to say! Depending on your insurance, you may not have to pay alot for him. I think his initial visit was $450, but my insurance reimbursed alot of it. I also noticed you are from Easton, PA. I live about 15 minutes from you, but am on the Jersey side. So funny we are that close. I went into NYC because I didn't know any good scoliosis surgeons in the area. Have you seen anyone in the PA area?

Best of luck to you,

04-24-2010, 05:04 PM
Hello Lorz and welcome!!

We are close in age and close in curvature degrees....I am also considering surgery, also scared silly, also wondering the same things you are- so your questions are of great interest to me as well.

My dad and wife live in NYC and have encouraged me to have surgery there. It would be a viable alternative to surgery in Denver, the closest logical place for me to go. I saw Dr Boachie a couple times for monitoring, but have yet to figure out the financial aspect after having heard the same info as you. My insurance has changed dramatically every year for 4 years (though I have worked for the same company) and will change again in October, so I haven't felt too compelled to try to lock it in at this point in time....

Seems like it's all I think of these days- my back, and I can't even see it....!!

And so, a big welcome!


04-24-2010, 05:26 PM
Hi Lorz
i asked you on the other thread about where your curves are...now i see where...

i saw Dr Boachie, Dr Neuwirth (one time each) and am a patient of Dr Lonner....i like him the most! Dr Boachie was deflating lungs when i saw him 4 years ago...i didnt want that...he made large side incisions (not minimal invasive!) and then back incisions...anyway, he doesnt take my insurance, and i have to go in network...no reimbursements on my plan...i paid cash for the one time consult...Dr Neuwirth takes my insurance...but i felt more comfortable with Dr L. i know that Dr Boachie is considered one of the best scoli surgeons internationally...but i personally consider others just as good for my needs...i wouldnt pay for the consult if i were you unless you really think that you will go with him....

Dr Lonner is offering to do minimal invasive lumbar for me...something not offered to me by him or any other doctor one year ago...i did go see the biggest advocate of minimal for lumbar...Dr Anand, in CA, this January...he doesnt take my insurance either! but i had to see him in person and hear him say it can be done with ANY size lumbar curve...which he did say!

I like Dr Lonner the best of any scoli surgeon i have met, and i've met quite a few in the last 6 years or so since i've been having consults...several i havent mentioned...didnt think too highly of....

two things i'd suggest to you...seek a scoli surgeon who will offer minimal invasive for lumbar...thoracic has done minimal invasive for years, but for lumbar it is newer...and have you seen a pain doctor in the meantime...?

oh...not all scoli surgeries of any location require lung deflation...i believe that is very rare nowadays!!

best regards

04-24-2010, 06:58 PM
Hi Lorz and welcome to the forum. I can't help you much in the ins and dr dept as i live in Aus, however, i did have both anterior and posterior surgery done. As you can see by my signature, my anterior fusion was down low and therefore i did not require lung deflation etc. My surgery was done through a small caesarian type cut (can't believe i had two kids naturally and NOW i have a caesar cut!). I believe my anterior was done for extra support as i had very bad disc degeneration at those two levels. You have come to the right place for youe questions. The members of this forum are fantastic and a great support network. See you 'round on the posts!:)

04-24-2010, 07:53 PM
Welcome Lorz.:)

04-24-2010, 08:22 PM
Welcome to the forum. I can only address the first question from my experience. Dr. Lenke did everything on mine posterior. Another doctor I saw would have done A & P. Lenke was one of the first to do that and trains others. Some doctors don't know his method or aren't comfortable with it. My work was pretty extensive but he is very well versed in it & could still do it. It certainly saves the added pain of front incision. Janet

04-25-2010, 08:16 AM
Hi Lori,

I sent you a PM.

04-25-2010, 09:42 AM
Wow, I didn't expect so many replies! You guys are terrific. I have been a nurse for 32 years, and have always been in the caregiver role. It is very humbling to be in the position of needing the help. You all have been a great comfort to me. Jen, I wish you luck with your upcoming surgery. I did see one PA surgeon, who seemed to think surgery would be too involved to even consider. I work in Phillipsburg NJ, so were are really close. It would be great to meet some time. Amy, thanks for your reply, I know exactly how you feel! Jess, I am sure I will have a million more questions for you! Janet, how is your flexibility since your surgery, and are you glad you had it? And again, thanks to all for the warm welcome. Sincerely, Lori Z.

04-25-2010, 09:58 AM
Lori, I am 57 and saw Dr. Newirth, Dr. Boachie and Dr. Lonner for my 85 degree thoracic curve. At first, Dr. Boachie wanted to do A and P. On the next visit, he suggested a modified posterior only approach that would be less correction. Dr. Lonner would do the anterior release with a minimally invasive procedure so as to avoid front cutting, deflating a lung, etc. He is very experienced in this and has been doing it for a while. Then he would go in through the back. I would be lying face down the whole time. I liked him very much and have heard wonderful things about him. I am scheduled for surgery on June 8th. I would be happy to talk to you further about Dr. Boachie and Dr. Lonner. All the best, Joy

04-25-2010, 10:57 AM
Good Luck with your upcoming surgery. I will be thinking positive thoughts for you. It does seem that Dr. Lonner is very experienced, so you are in good hands. It must be such a relief to make a decision, and have a set surgery date. Does Dr. Lonner feel he can get just as good of a correction using the minimally invasive approach? I wonder, as we get older, if going for that much correction is a good idea? Our muscles and ligaments have an awful lot of readjusting to do. I would be happy with 50% correction, and knowing the curve would no longer progress. The whole process is just so overwhelming. lori

04-25-2010, 12:39 PM
Lori, Dr. Lonner told me he could get around 50%. I know I didn't want A and P with the collapsed lung. This approach causes less blood loss and and leads to an easier recovery.

04-25-2010, 01:25 PM
Joy- That sounds like exactly what I am looking for! Lori

04-25-2010, 09:23 PM
Yes, I am glad I had it or I would have been a mess pain wise and cosmetically--I already was! I have probably more flexibility than I thought I would. I just do things differently. Since my year appt. last week Dr. Lenke said I could really start working more on flexibility through p.t. etc. So I'm hoping it will improve more all the time. Janet