View Full Version : How to support, guide and not step on toes

01-31-2012, 04:42 PM
My cousin is seeing a DO who says he needs spinal fusion and will have to wear a cast from his neck to his thighs for three months post-op. I have never heard of this and am worried that it's indicative of outdated methods.

I'm getting this information through a relative, but I am very concerned. First, that he is seeing a DO. Has anyone here had their fusion performed by a DO? To me, that's not a specialist and considering this is not a medical doctor, I have zero confidence that this guy has had appropriate training to specialize in spinal surgery.

Second, I am not clear what it is they are planning to do and what the full diagnosis is. He mentioned that they said he has scoliosis, but he also has a lot of nerve damage from the work he used to do for a living. He retired last year because of back and neck pain associated with his job (it was very manual, technical stuff that required climbing poles, etc). This started out as needing to fuse 1 or 2 levels and now they're talking about a cast from neck to pelvis and possibly multiple surgeries? What the?!

I don't want to scare him but I also think that he really should be meeting with a specialized spine ortho who knows what the h*ll they're doing.

Any suggestions on what to say? If this goes badly and I sat by and said nothing, I would feel so guilty, but then I also am (luckily) the recipient of a single 14-level fusion that was all posterior and successful.


01-31-2012, 04:49 PM
I hope this makes you feel better about D.O.'s.


You can look him up and see if he specializes in anything. A full body cast would concern me, too.

All the best!

01-31-2012, 06:54 PM
There are actually a couple of DO's who are members of the SRS. With that said, I would be very concerned about anyone saying that they'd have to be in a cast after surgery. Hopefully, they'll get a second opinion. Either that, or we can hope that the information was misunderstood.


loves to skate
01-31-2012, 07:00 PM
I had never been to a DO before now. A DO who specialized in Cataract surgery just did my eyes in December and did an amazing job. I had asked anybody who would listen to me for a recommendation on this Doctor and all I got was very positive recommendations for him. What I would suggest for you to mention to your cousin is to make sure he gets more than one opinion about his surgery.

01-31-2012, 09:31 PM
I agree. If you can meet with him, relay what you have had done to yourself and see how he responds. If he asks questions, that’s a plus. If he freezes up and doesn’t respond much, he could be extremely afraid. You will have to read him face to face. Try to arrange a meeting with him.......

Remember that stories coming from others are usually “tuned up” a tad to make things interesting.....A full body cast from head to toe, fusing the knees and hips, with just a hole for food makes things pretty interesting. It increases the “wow” factor.

Where are you guys located?

Good luck

01-31-2012, 10:21 PM
Here is a picture of a full body cast. This setup is great, you don’t have to wonder where your cat is, and with a handle on the back, you can carry him like a purse and set him down on your desk and you always have company. Just make sure you point him in the right direction or he could get pretty mad.

If you have a mouse hole, you just set him in front of the hole. Its guaranteed! That is one heck of a mousetrap!


(smiley face)
I’m 4 years today.....whew.

02-01-2012, 05:21 AM
I’m 4 years today.....whew.

Congratulations Ti Ed!!


02-01-2012, 08:12 AM
that cat looks like a feline version of Sparky in his winter coat...

i'd be pretty worried too about any doctor talking about a full body cast...
thought that went out with leeches...
seriously, i hope you can meet with him face to face, as Ed suggested....
at the very least, maybe just suggest another opinion....
after all, insurance companies used to require second opinions...

congrats, Ed...
maybe you can ski for your anniversary?


02-01-2012, 09:15 AM
Thx Sharon

I still cannot believe how well I turned out. Im still amazed, I always will be, I guess.


Its raining today......pretty depressing stuff for skiers out here. I know, deep breaths!


02-01-2012, 12:22 PM
Perhaps the story has, as Ed said, grown slightly, and the body cast is in fact a brace?

Hearty congratulations Ed! Will we ever cease to be amazed and will we ever forget our anniversaries? I doubt it.

02-01-2012, 12:45 PM
I remember when I was in 8th grade and they told me about the surgery--full body cast for 9 months! That was MANY years ago. No wonder I said I'll never ever have that surgery!

You are the Fusion Poster Boy. Congrats!! Janet

02-01-2012, 05:58 PM
Ed, may I someday have the sac to attempt learning to snowboard. Alas, at this point I am just looking forward to the driving range. :D Baby steps in bravery, right?!

It's actually my cousin, and the info is from his sister, so I don't think it's being overblown. Possibly misunderstood. I have his email address now (the patient) and will email and ask him what is going on. It sounds like it's neck and lower back damage. But the cast thing throws me off completely. We live far apart and I haven't seen him face to face since we were kids...we keep up on holidays and facebook, so we aren't close like that.

Ed, he is in Columbus OH. It looks like Ohio State has a great spine care facility there. Why he's going with this, I don't know. But to each his own and apparently this is the third "doctor" he's seen. Sorry, I know that DOs are certified in many cases, but I'm heavily biased toward MDs for something as delicate (well, delicately brutal) as spine surgery.

Thanks again you guys. And WAY TO GO on the four years Ed!!!

02-01-2012, 08:04 PM

On the snowboarding question, I think I understand what you are asking, uhhh, yes, snowboarding would be harder on a fused spine because snowboarders seem to fall OFTEN. Sorry snowboarders, but it is true. I don’t think I will ever board again because of this. I have to worry about my neck now since my spine is no longer flexible, all the force will transfer right to the neck in a crash.

Be sure to keep us up to date on your cousin. I wonder if there is a reason to ‘plaster cast” anything anymore? What do they use in you break your arm now? Hmm....Its seems that they would have something pretty fancy these days.


02-01-2012, 11:44 PM

I wonder if there is a reason to ‘plaster cast” anything anymore? What do they use in you break your arm now? Hmm....Its seems that they would have something pretty fancy these days.


They use this stuff that looks like gauze but is made of, I believe, fiber glass. It has something in it that activates with water and gets a little hot. They wrap the arm very heavily with fluff and then in a big hurry apply the cast material as it hardens very quickly.

The only reason I know is because my grandson had to have a tendon repair when he was two and they casted him almost all the way up to the shoulder (it was in his finger). My son also broke his hand a couple of times several years back and it was the same material then.