View Full Version : Dr.Akbarnia has decided to do it all in one surgery!

04-03-2007, 08:41 PM
Hello, all my Forum friends.

I met with my surgeon, Dr.Akbarnia (San Diego), yesterday. He had scheduled me for two separate anterior and posterior surgeries, 3 days apart. Now he has decided to do them at the same time. This was partly due to a scheduling conflict. His office called last week to move my second surgery back to 7 days from my first. This would be a hardship for my son, who is coming to take care of me since I live alone. He is in grad school and is already sacrificing a lot to come in the middle of school. He is a wonderful young man, who had a spinal fusion himself at the age of 14. He is still doing great, by the way. My surgery will last at least 12 hours. I'll be in the ICU for a couple of days at least, Dr. A. thinks. Scary, but I'm glad I'm getting it over with. Bertha did it and it sounds like she is OK. She is in my age group. My surgery is scheduled for May 15. My doctor had to reschedule because he is speaking at a conference. He speaks at many, since he is one of the well known spinal deformity surgeons. Those of us who have doctors who are well known just have to deal with such things, I guess.

Dr. A. showed my before and after xrays of a 48 year old male patient of his who has a similar fusion to mine one month ago. He'd just come in for his one-month check up. He got a great correction. Dr. A. said he walked in to the office on his own and seemed to be doing well. I pray I'll be the same.


04-03-2007, 10:37 PM
Hi Brynn,

That's great that your doctor will be doing the surgery in one shot. I think that aides in the recovery time and the risk of complications.

I wish you the best of luck on your surgery!

04-04-2007, 09:20 AM
I am 4 months post op and had both surgeries in one day. I would much rather get it over with in one day than drag it out! You will do fine- we will be thinking of you!

04-04-2007, 09:32 AM
I'll be thinking of you. It sounds like you have a strong positive attitude about the surgery.

Best wishes,

Houston Curves
04-04-2007, 06:49 PM
Congratulations Brynn!! It's great that you will be able to get it over in one day! I would hate to have a 2nd surgery!


04-04-2007, 11:38 PM
Thanks to everyone who answered this thread and gave me encouragement. When I told my son that Dr. Akbarnia has decided to do it all in one surgery he said "Mom, I'm concerned that he'll rush through it trying to get it done in a hurry!" He's sweet to be worried about his ol' Mom, but I have to believe that Dr. A. would only be doing it if he knew he could. I trust his surgical skills completely (or as completely as I can.) And he is a compassionate, caring man. I hope MishP is right that it reduces the chance of complications. I'm glad, Cathie, that you did it in one shot and came through it OK.
I was just reading another thread and I realize that there are at least 6 of us having surgery between now and the end of June. I'm sure there are more as well. "Azalea" is having hers in only 1 1/2 weeks! You are in my thoughts and prayers, for sure. There are also Anya (June 5), Nadia (June 18), Chris (June 19) and Maria (June 26.) Are there others I've missed. You are all in my thoughts!

04-04-2007, 11:43 PM
Lee: I forgot you! Yours is also in May, isn't it? Good luck to you! How are you doing?

Take care,

04-05-2007, 04:07 AM

I'm having both anterior and posterior surgeries, but i dont know when my will be done. I was told it was going to be done in 2 stages but not at once.

04-05-2007, 09:08 AM
The woman who chaired the first Chicago support group meeting that I attended is having surgery today by Dr. Bridwell in St. Louis. She should be in the OR now and my prayers are with her. She is having one operation performed today and then goes back in June for a second operation. She is 61 years old and Dr. Bridwell believes in spacing surgeries apart over a couple of months for older patients. Says a lengthy surgery in one day or two within a week is just too rough on us older folks.


04-05-2007, 09:16 PM

Looks like there are differences of opinion among surgeons about whether or not to do 2 surgeries or one. I am 59. Dr. Akbarnia originally said that it would be easier on me to do 2 surgeries. He had been spacing them a week apart for adult patients. Then he decided to space them 3 days apart since he had tried that and it had worked fine. Now he is saying that one surgery is OK as long as it is limited to no more than 12 hours. I am a bit concerned, I must admit, the more I think about it. I called his office to speak to someone about this a couple of days ago but no one has called me back yet. Although I'm strong and healthy for my age I do take meds for slightly elevated blood pressure. I'm having an EKG to make sure my heart is OK but I'm not sure that's enough. I do my best to be proactive with my doctors but sometimes it's difficult to know when to let go and trust them and when I need to question them further.


Karen Ocker
04-06-2007, 09:19 AM
At age 60 I had an extremely complex revision done a week apart 6 hours each time.
After the first surgery I had hardly any pain because they put narcotics in my epidural space; after the second surgery that wasn't an option. I really didn't mind having the 2 stages so long if it was best for me.
I wasn't going to quibble about what my surgeon thought best.

I went to rehab for 2 weeks after that and came home on the one month anniversary of the first stage. I was able to manage quite well alone during the day though I hired someone to do cooking, laundry and shopping because my husband was still working. I'm a firm believer rehab helped me be more independent at home. I could have stayed in rehab another week if I did not feel ready-or had no one.

04-06-2007, 11:47 AM

My surgery has been moved from June 4th to May 21st. It sure is coming up quick!

04-10-2007, 05:24 PM
Wow, Theresa! How are you doing?? I've been having a hard week but last week wasn't so bad. It's really a rollercoaster for me! This is revision surgery for you. Is your waiting better or worse this time?

Karen: Thanks for your feedback. I feel the need to speak with my doctor about the risks of being under anesthesia for 12 hours, but this is at least partly because he originally told me he liked to do it in 2 stages since it was easier on patients to not be out for a long time. So now that he changed his mind I'm confused........


04-10-2007, 06:38 PM
Lee: I forgot you! Yours is also in May, isn't it? Good luck to you! How are you doing?

Take care,

Hey Bryann,

Yes mine is May 28th . Thanks for thinking of me. I am doing fine i just received my hospital papers yesterday so it feels very real now. A little scared but i thinking positive...

Hope you doing well......

Lee :)

04-10-2007, 11:01 PM

I'm doing okay for now. I have alot to get done at school before I leave May 15th for Amarillo. This is my 2nd revision and hopefully the last. It's still a little worrisome though. The concerns are different and some the same but overall not as bad as the first surgery.

On my first A/P surgery in April 2004, my first day of surgery was suppose to be around 12 hours but turned out to be 15 hours. Then four days later another round of surgeries for 7 hours. One very imortant thing to tell your friends and family....Be prepared for what you will look like after surgery. When you lay for 12 hours on your stomach you wake up very, very,very bloated and puffy looking! My friends and family and I didn't know about this ahead of time and they were very shocked. Also, I was very, very pale.

04-11-2007, 10:35 AM
I'm scheduled for my third surgery on May 14, by the same doctor who is performing Azalea's surgery.

Regarding how you look after surgery, my family wasn't prepared either. Before my first surgery, I didn't see that mentioned anywhere, and no doctor/nurse mentioned it would happen, or I would have warned them. When they described it to me weeks later, I couldn't stop laughing. I was very swollen, had tiny water blisters (?) all over my face, and one eye kept wandering all over the place. I made them promise that this time they will give me a mirror so I can see for myself (with my one stable eye, of course!). ;) Please no one take offense, we have an irreverent sense of humor in my family ...

04-17-2007, 04:51 PM

We were wondering what happen to you at the support group meetings! I'm so glad that Dr. Akbarnia has worked out well for you. I hope that you are doing well and come back and see us soon.

Also, to everyone else who's having surgery good luck!!

04-17-2007, 10:36 PM
Hi Everyone,

It's now less than a month before my surgery (May 15.) Last week I was kind of a wreck but this weekend my silly mind did a wonderful shift and now I'm not scared. I am very aware that the pre-surgery roller coaster is real, and I wonder if I'll remain as I am right now. I can't really pin down what caused the shift. I think I just got tired of being so full of anxiety about the future. At any case, feeling positive, as I do right now, is a real blessing. Now I know I can do it.

I spoke with one of Dr. Akbarnia's associates on Monday and asked him why they are so positive about doing my two procedures together instead of in two stages, since he had expressed concerns when he first met with me. He said that they've been trying this lately and have been happy with the results. He went on to say that they keep discovering new techniques that enable them to do more in less time. And lately they are finding that they often don't have to do as many levels as they thought they needed to do to get a good result. When I asked him about the possibility of Dr. Akbarnia needing to harvest bone from my iliac crest, his associate said that they haven't done this in about 9 months. They've been having excellent results from BMP graphs. These will apparently be the wave of the future.

I'm also seeing a medical hypnotherapist who is helping me greatly. Every day I listen to CDs she has made for me and she puts me in a trance state during our weekly sessions. These techniques help me focus on the positive outcomes of my surgery. They focus on increasing my ability to stay calm during the surgery, even helping me to be able to reduce blood loss and keep my vital signs stable. This is not some kind of flaky stuff. There are many scientific studies that show these results to be common when hypnosis is used before and during surgery. I'm currently trying to find out if there is an anesthesiologist on staff at my hospital who is schooled in medical hypnotherapy. A number of them are these days. I have two friends who have had surgery with anesthesiologists who used hypnotherapy as a tool during their procedures. Their surgeries went extremely well. Dr. Akbarnia has agreed to give me suggestions during surgery that my hypnotherapist has printed out for me. He even told me that if I'd bring CDs with me he'd play them, even 12 hours worth! What a guy!