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View Full Version : Logistically, How to Seek Out of State Surgeon



Doreen1
07-21-2011, 06:23 AM
How does that work, logistically, seeing a surgeon out of state? How do people to travel for appointments leading up to the surgery for an out of state surgeon? Do folks travel alone for surgery or does someone join you? Where does this person stay while people are hospitalized? What is the experience traveling home after the surgery to another state? Who did people see for follow up appointments; out of state of surgeon or someone local?

I'm in Atlanta and see Dr. Yoon is covered in my insurance. I also see Dr. Lenke is on my insurance but he is located in St. Louis.

Warmly,
Doreen

KathK
07-21-2011, 10:01 AM
Hi Doreen,

I traveled from Columbus OH to St. Louis for my surgery (roughly 470 miles). Altogether (so far), I have made 6 trips to St. Louis, 3 for appointments prior to the surgery, the surgery trip itself, and 2 for follow-up appointments to the surgery (so far). I, personally, find it very helpful to have someone accompany me to all appointments. I like to have a second "set of ears" and a second "note taker" at all appointments. A lot of information is given and it can be hard to get it all down on paper if you are alone.

For the pre-surgery appointments, my husband accompanied me. For these, we drove out and stayed with my aunt.

For the 3 month follow-up appointment, I flew out and my mother-in-law flew with me (I was nervous about flying solo at that point). For the 6 month follow-up appointment, I was able to fly alone. I will also fly out solo for my 1 year follow-up next month. I am fortunate that flights between Columbus and St. Louis are usually cheap!

Most of the "long distance" logistical planning is required for the surgery itself, as you might imagine. I had my central line put in on a Friday and my surgery was the following Monday. So, I flew out early and the rest of my "posse" (husband and parents) drove out the day before the surgery. At Barnes-Jewish Hospital, there is a hotel on site (connected to the hospital via a walkway). My "posse" stayed there while I was in the hospital. After 5 days and 4 nights at the hospital, I moved to the hotel also and stayed an additional 7 nights there. At that time, I drove home. We split the drive over 2 days.

If I had to do it again, I would fly home after surgery, although there are pluses and minuses with each path. Since you live in the south, the roads might be smoother between Atlanta and St. Louis. The roads in Indiana and Ohio were pretty darn bumpy!

I hope that this is helpful. Please feel free to send me a pm if you have other questions. It is do-able! If I had to do it again, I would definitely travel to have this surgery performed by a world-class surgeon.

Doreen1
07-21-2011, 11:42 AM
Hi Kathy,

Thanks for sharing your experience. Who did you go to locally (near your home) for follow up care)? Would you say you staying in St. Louis about two weeks combined hospital/hotel?

Warmly,
Doreen

ADMoul
07-21-2011, 03:11 PM
I found my surgeon basically by talking with folks on this forum and researching on-line. My husband goes with me to all my app'ts. since he's a lot more comfortable traveling the subways in NY than I am! Many hospitals in large cities have accommodations for family members or arrangements with nearby hotels. We were fortunate that we knew someone with an apt. available in NY during the time of my surgery so my husband basically had a free place to stay. For other app'ts. we stay in hotels but keep accurate receipts and records for everything. Most of those expenses should be tax-deductible. Both of us were unfamiliar with NY before this experience and it was a little intimidating at first. But you go where the best medical expertise is and just deal with whatever you need to do to get there. I was fortunate that my insurance covered almost everything even though it was out of state and that's something that your Dr.'s office staff should help you with. Practices like this are used to dealing with people coming long distances for care and will help you with the details. Good luck to you

titaniumed
07-21-2011, 08:24 PM
Doreen

Iíve been running around like crazy lately....

This is from Linda Racineís site, a must read.

http://www.scoliosislinks.com/ScoliosisSpecialists.htm

http://www.scoliosislinks.com/

And some Dr Yoon links

http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showthread.php?9835-Dr-Tim-Yoon-Emory-Spine-Center-Atlanta&highlight=atlanta

http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showthread.php?10612-I-m-back!!&highlight=atlanta

You might pm Glenda. Even though many go out of state, exploring options at home makes sense. You donít have to commit to surgery, surgeons will understand this.

If you see someone, it would be wise to get digital copies of your x-rays burnt to disc. If you decide to wait, you have these dated x-rays in your possession. I have had my records lost, thatís why I say this.

Hope this helps a little.
Ed

KathK
07-22-2011, 07:36 AM
Hi Doreen,

Locally, I saw my GP, of course. But, prior to the surgery, I also contacted the office of a local orthopedic surgeon who does pediactric scoliosis surgeries. I explained my situation and he was willing to see if after surgery if the need arose. I did not have the need to see him.

Atlanta is a big city. There may be adult scoliosis specialists there. There were no SRS listed surgeons in Columbus, OH :-(.

Marina63
07-24-2011, 05:58 AM
Hi Doreen!
I live in Atlanta also. Dr Yoon just did my spinal fusion on July 11. I had T2-L2 fused. The surgery was performed at the Emory Orthopedic and Spine Center in Tucker. Since I live in Lilburn, next town over, it was very practical. I don't know if you have seen Dr Yoon yet but I can give high recommendations.

The hospital rooms are huge as it used to be Northlake Hospital. There are pull out couches for family members to spend the night.

Doreen1
08-10-2011, 06:37 AM
Doreen

Iíve been running around like crazy lately....

This is from Linda Racineís site, a must read.

http://www.scoliosislinks.com/ScoliosisSpecialists.htm

http://www.scoliosislinks.com/

Hope this helps a little.
Ed

I explored the two sites above searching for scoliosis specialists in GA where I live. Of the names listed, non of the SRS surgeons are mentioned on this forum. There was one, Dr. Burkus, from the scoliosislinks site that was mentioned on this forum, but the posts dated back several years.

During this time of waiting to see how my bone density will improve after seeing the specialist on the 24th, I think I should get some second/third opinions. Should I be a bit concerned that none of the GA surgeons on SRS are not talked about on this forum?

Dr. Lenke is one of the best, correct? He is covered under my insurance, but the thought of coordinating an out of state surgery along with sorting out details of, do we bring our daughter, age 11, with us during surgery time or make arrangements for her to stay home, is overwhelming me at the moment.

Confused.

Warmly,
Doreen

mabeckoff
08-10-2011, 10:16 AM
If you have someone to leave your daughter with , I think that is the better thing to do

Melissa

LindaRacine
08-10-2011, 02:33 PM
Check out William Horton at Emory.

Doreen1
08-10-2011, 06:43 PM
Hi Linda,

Horton retired a couple of years ago.

Warmly,
Doreen

Susie*Bee
08-10-2011, 07:31 PM
I explored the two sites above searching for scoliosis specialists in GA where I live. Of the names listed, non of the SRS surgeons are mentioned on this forum. There was one, Dr. Burkus, from the scoliosislinks site that was mentioned on this forum, but the posts dated back several years.

During this time of waiting to see how my bone density will improve after seeing the specialist on the 24th, I think I should get some second/third opinions. Should I be a bit concerned that none of the GA surgeons on SRS are not talked about on this forum?

Dr. Lenke is one of the best, correct? He is covered under my insurance, but the thought of coordinating an out of state surgery along with sorting out details of, do we bring our daughter, age 11, with us during surgery time or make arrangements for her to stay home, is overwhelming me at the moment.

Confused.

Warmly,
Doreen

Doreen-- I saw on your other post that you have an appointment with Dr. Lenke, so that's great! As for what I "bolded and underlined"-- sometimes I think that happens because a lot of people aren't aware that the forum exists. I found it by accident when I was messing around on the internet about 5 months after my surgery. So I really think it might be that some surgeons aren't mentioned because their patients aren't aware of the forum. Of course, I could be wrong on that, but it's a thought. My surgeon never mentioned the NSF or its forum... so that's where my thought on it comes from. (smile) Take care.

KathK
08-10-2011, 09:23 PM
I know that the thought of an out of state surgery can seem overwhelming, but just take it one small step at a time. Just focus on the September visit for now and after that, you'll have additional information from Kelly. I'd be happy to talk with you about my experience.

jrnyc
08-11-2011, 01:43 AM
i counted at least 10 surgeons in Georgia on the SRS list...
are you saying you do not want to try a surgeon if he/she hasn't been written about on forum?
just a suggestion...but i would select a few who are at geographically closer to you, from the list, and set up a few appointments....maybe you will discover a surgeon who is wonderful, someone folks just haven't gotten around to trying yet....? that is, if going out of state is very problematic for you and the family....
never know...you might find a pleasant surprise....in your home state...

i flew to CA from east coast a year and a half ago, to get a consult with Dr Anand, for minimally invasive approach for lumbar spine fusion surgery...he doesn't take my insurance...if he did, i would consider having surgery there, even though most of my family who lived there is now gone...
someone else on here wrote that some patients will travel as far as it takes for the surgeon's skills and excellence...
it is very true...my most likely surgeon will be Dr Lonner, a top guy in NYC, though i currently live in CT..

best of luck
jess