View Full Version : What Else Should I Ask Surgeon?

07-26-2011, 06:25 AM
Hi Everyone,

I meet with Dr. Ananthkrishnan at Emory tomorrow and have some preliminary questions:

How many scoliosis surgeries do you do per month?
What is your estimate of correction?
What is the infection rate?
What is the nerve damage rate?
How many days in hospital?
Will your spinal cord be hooked up to a monitor to check for possible paralysis
Recovery time?
Will rib hump change?
What about blood loss?
Request to speak to someone surgeon did similar operation on

What other questions should I add to my list?

Dr. Ananthakrishnan's bio:

Dr. Ananthakrishnan trained with one of the pioneers of scoliosis surgery, Dr. David Bradford, at the University of California at San Francisco. After completion of her fellowship, Dr. Ananthakrishnan practiced orthopedic and spine surgery for over three years at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 2007, she left Seattle to work with Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She then worked as a volunteer consultant at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, before starting her position at Emory University. She maintains an interest in developing-world orthopedics and is currently involved in projects in the Philippines and Malawi.

Dr. Ananthakrishnan's practice focuses on adult degenerative conditions, including scoliosis. She also treats adolescent spinal disorders as well as tumors and cervical conditions.


07-26-2011, 11:37 AM
that is a great list of questions! I would also ask:

-how long does he expect you to be in the hospital post op and does he send his patients to a nursing/pt facility post-op, instead of going straight home
-does his office do any sort of home visits (ie. sending a nurse to check on your wound etc)
-when does he recommend physical therapy (or does he recommend it at all for you), and does he have a preferred Physical Therapist who is experienced with scoliosis surgery patients (that would personally be the ONLY type of PT i would go to)
-how does his office handle post-op prescriptions during that first 3-4 weeks, (ie. if they under/over prescribe who do you contact to get FAST results and what is their phone number)
-how many levels does he think he would need to fuse, and is he going in from the front and back, side and back, or just the back.
-what sort of metals/rods/screws does he use (ie. is he using the most up-to-date materials)
-does he expect to use bone graft from your hip, donor material, BMP, or a combo of all?
-does he require pre-op blood donation, or does he allow you to choose not to donate your own blood pre-op

That's all I could think of that you didn't already have on there. You sound prepared! Good luck and let us know how it goes!

07-26-2011, 02:34 PM
Hi Rebecca,

I spent a few days reading your blog and enjoyed learning about your journey. I appreciate your suggestions of what to ask the surgeon.


07-26-2011, 04:46 PM
-does he expect to use bone graft from your hip, donor material, BMP, or a combo of all?

For my daughters, had it been an issue, I would have worded this question as follows...

"Since you will NOT be harvesting bone from the hip (iliac crest), where will you be getting it?"

Long term pain at the harvest site is a known complication of that procedure. I was prepared to not allow it with my daughters because of this. Luckily, our surgeon wasn't planning on it.

Good luck.

07-26-2011, 08:45 PM

I used to watch the research channel on tv years ago and Dheera spoke one night. This is one smart lady...sharp as a tack. I figured you would like to hear this.

I used to post questions for surgeons....there are lists on the Medtronic site.

Linda has objected to interviewing surgeons with lists in hand, and I have to say that I agree....I think its just best to go with the flow and try to remember as much as you can. Bring your husband and just sit back and let her lead. I had many visits with my surgeon.

Maybe it would be a good idea if you could have her type a proposal, a plan on the surgery that she suggests. That way you could read it and take your time making your decision. She will totally understand that we truly are scared to death and need time to absorb the information.

I am sure she is aware of the pain caused by pelvic autograft.

Good luck

07-27-2011, 09:36 AM
Hi Rebecca,

I spent a few days reading your blog and enjoyed learning about your journey. I appreciate your suggestions of what to ask the surgeon.


Thanks for the kind compliment Doreen! And to add to what Ed said, if you forget to ask a question, or feel like something important wasn't discussed, don't be afraid to call them later to ask. I met with my surgeon 5 times over a few months to discuss the surgery...and he never got tired of me pestering him about everything. He is one of the rare ones who actually sat with me for an hour each time w/o checking his watch =)

Some surgeons I've heard also answer questions via email, which mine doesn't but maybe yours would. Never hurts to ask!