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Thread: Is it Crazy to travel to New York for an Opinion?

  1. #1
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    Is it Crazy to travel to New York for an Opinion?

    Hi,
    I'm from Philadelphia and there are some good doctors here, but I haven't seen the enthusiastic recommendations for any that I see for NY doctors. I am thinking of going to NY for an opinion and if a doctor wows me, going there for the surgery though I lean towards doing the surgery in Philadelphia. Can someone who has gone through the surgery tell me what they think of going to another city for an opinion, for the surgery itself?

    And I'm debating between Lonner, Boachie-Adjei or Errico?

    Interested in opinions from the listserv. Thanks.
    Lisa
    curve 60 degree thoracolumbar cuve
    57 years old

  2. #2
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    May 2009
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    as a born and rasied New Yorker who lived there til 4 years ago....of course it is worth the trip!! NYC has the best...particularly Manhattan (sorry Maria)
    a rheumatologist in Manahttan once told me, when i was thinking of moving to CA...he said "have your surgery in NYC..as good as CA doctors can get, they can't beat NYC surgeons"...his own daughter had surgery with Boachie...

    i have seen Dr Lonner, Dr Boachie, Dr Neuwith and a few others (who did not impress me) in Manhattan...Boachie did not take my insurance...that was 6 years ago..i think by now he doesn't take any insurance...you must pay him and wait to get reimbursed by your own company...i could be wrong, so check it...but am pretty sure that is what others on forum have said lately...
    i love Dr Lonner...he has followed me for over 6 years now...he will do my surgery whenever i am ready...which isn't yet...
    i liked Dr Neuwirth very much, and he took my insurance, but don't know him as well as Lonner....

    seriously, i think it is always worth the trp for peace of mind...
    one year ago January i flew to LA to see Dr Anand at Cedars Sinai to discuss minimally invasive approach to lumbar surgery...now Dr Lonner does it, but at that time, i wanted to speak directly to the surgeon doing it the most...even though he does not take my insurance....i paid cash, plus airfare and hotel!!

    compared to flying 3000 miles, Philly to NYC seems like nothing!!

    best of luck...

    jess

  3. #3
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    Did any of these doctors give you non-surgical advice

    Thanks Jess for the vote of confidence. With your recommendation, and I see many others, I think I'll try for Lonner. What's got your waiting? I'm not sure I'm ready for surgery either, but if I were to do it, I guess it would make sense to do it sooner rather than later because of my age.

  4. #4
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    May 2009
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    hi lisa
    for me personally...i need fusion T4-pelvis...we compromised to T11-pelvis...because i get botox shots in thoracic area every 3-4 months that have been very helpful in freezing muscles, so they cannot spasm....fusion to pelvis scares me, though fellow scolis on here have assured me it is not as bad as one thinks it will be...
    most all my pain is lumbar, hips, etc...
    i have degenerative disc disease...Dr Lonner told me a year ago that my thoracic curve only increased 2 degrees, lumbar stayed same...i am T42, L61, but that my discs are much worse...discs can cause a huge amount of pain!! also i have listhesis, spinal stenosis, spinal arthritis, and am "particularly hypokyphotic," per Dr Lonner....

    all other surgeons i consulted with agreed with Lonner's recommendations, including Boachie...
    we also decided on minimally invasive approach, as it spares muscles a little bit...
    that was the reason i flew to see Dr Anand in LA a year ago...to discuss results Anand has had with that approach...

    meanwhile, i take oral pain meds, get injections...nothing much has helped lumbar pain...i do get relief for up to 3 weeks with lower back injections...but it is sadly short lived! i keep trying, though!

    jess
    Last edited by jrnyc; 03-07-2011 at 08:49 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    NC
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    I now live in NC but lived for 20 years outside of Philly in a small town in NJ. I am from NY and as Jess says NYC is the best. Philly to NYC is a day trip. Many people do it on a daily basis so if the trip is worth it for a job then it is certainly worth it for a medical reason

    Melissa

  6. #6
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    What are criteria for minimally invasive?

    Jess,

    You mention minimally invasive, which would sound great. The surgeon i saw today told me I would need fusion from T8 to S1 so he said minimally invasive would not be possible, but sound like your potential fusion is just as large and minimally invasive would be possible?

    Melissa,
    Thanks too for your encouragement. I see your note says you had surgery and are learning to do things differently. What do you mean? Were you happy with the surgery or are you too waiting?

    Best,
    Lisa

  7. #7
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    hey Lisa
    i would find a surgeon who knows more...
    Dr Anand in CA swears EVERYONE can have lumbar fusion with minimally invasive..
    if you're interested, take a look at his web site...he is at Cedar Sinai Hospital in LA..but has a website about minimally invasive...

    i do not know what is right for you or what you can have...i am not a doctor nor do i make medical recommendations!

    i just know which surgeons DO know...Dr Lonner is one of them..
    Dr Anand is another...there are another one or two in the Chicago area, i believe...
    i spoke to 2 of Anand's patients who were very happy with their lumbar fusion using him as their surgeon...course, that doesn't mean he has no unhappy patients, but i would guess he wasn't going to give me the phone numbers of such patients if there are any!
    i flew out to CA BECAUSE a few people were saying on forum that no one could have lumbar fusion with minimally invasive approach IF they needed fusion to the pelvis...that is WHY i went to see Anand! and Dr Anand said i absolutely COULD...as can anyone...per him...
    so...i would at least find a surgeon who knows the procedure...then, whether you want to go that way is up to you and the surgeon...NOT someone telling you it is impossible!
    perhaps revision surgeries qualify differently...i only know what i was told about surgery for me...who has not had any spinal surgery...yet..and other first time patients...

    jess
    Last edited by jrnyc; 03-07-2011 at 11:43 PM. Reason: splg

  8. #8
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    LISA
    WHY ARE YOU WRITING IN THE "UNDER AGE 18" SECTION OF THE FORUM....???
    I JUST NOTICED THIS

    YOU SAID YOU ARE 57 YEARS OLD...

    I BELIEVE YOUR POSTS NEED TO BE SWITCHED TO THE ADULT SECTION..
    MAYBE UNDER "FIRST TIME SURGERY" ?????

    jess

  9. #9
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    Jess...

    I moved the thread to the appropriate forum. Thanks.

    --Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you've signed up and are having trouble posting, please check your spam folder. An email was sent to the email address which you subscribed. You have to follow the instructions in that email. Done that and still having trouble posting? Contact Joe O'Brien at jpobrien@scoliosis.org.

  10. #10
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    If I could afford it, or if my insurance would cover it, I certainly wouldn't have a problem traveling to see a really good doc. I have a friend who traveled to CA from the midwest to have her surgery. Of course, she had family there to help with her aftercare. I guess that would be the only serious thing to consider is after the surgery. Follow-ups would be more physically difficult and costly.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrnyc View Post
    hi lisa
    get botox shots in thoracic area every 3-4 months that have been very helpful in freezing muscles, so they cannot spasm....jess
    Jess,

    I have been wondering if botox injection to the muscles in the thoracic/shouler area would ever be an option......SO glad to see that they are. I go in tomorrow morning for my first epidural steriod shot to my neck which I know won't work. They never worked for me in the past but they were done to my L4-L5. If my pain management clinic doesn't do it I am going to find a place that does. I am certain that this would be 100% beneficial to me.......I'm sure that it is not without risk of course but I'm at my end o dealing with muscles spasms so bad it gives me migraine...Done! Thanks for sharing!!!
    Susan

    Diagnosed at 10, Boston brace from 11-13 yrs old.
    50* Lumbar w/ 5 centimeter shift to the left and slight rib hump...
    Surgery Date: April 15 and April 22, 2009
    X-LIF approach for disc repair L5,L4,L3,L2
    Posterior Approach for fusions L5-T5
    Dr. Fox @ Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
    Nice and straight now!!!!!

  12. #12
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    Jan 2009
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    Virginia Beach, VA
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    [QUOTE=lisazena;118084]
    . Can someone who has gone through the surgery tell me what they think of going to another city for an opinion, for the surgery itself?

    Lisa,

    Deciding to have this surgery is such a HUGE decision that if you can afford the expense of traveling to get a second opinion I would go for it. We have military insurance and I was very apprehensive of letting a military doctor operate on my spine! When I first met with Dr. Fox I was 6 week post partum. I knew I wanted to wait for my son to be at least a year old. Both my husband and I instantly took to Dr. Fox and felt confident in his ability and I knew I would be in good hands. He definitely encouraged me to get a second opinion but I felt so confident in him that I never did and never once regretted it. Follow your instincts because more often than not they are correct. Good luck and keep us posted!
    Susan

    Diagnosed at 10, Boston brace from 11-13 yrs old.
    50* Lumbar w/ 5 centimeter shift to the left and slight rib hump...
    Surgery Date: April 15 and April 22, 2009
    X-LIF approach for disc repair L5,L4,L3,L2
    Posterior Approach for fusions L5-T5
    Dr. Fox @ Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
    Nice and straight now!!!!!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    NJ across from NYC
    Posts
    329

    Dr. Boachie - Insurance

    Lisa,

    I recently had revision surgery on December 7, 2010 by Dr. Boachie. I haven't paid him anything, other than the visit before surgery and my insurance company reimbursed me. His office recently submitted his surgical fees to insurance, and is currently being processed. To date, I haven't paid anything. I was told I have a very good policy, so I'm hoping for the best.

    I highly recommend Dr. Boachie. He has given me my life back. I have been in his care since 2002 and finally made the decision last summer - couldn't take the pain anymore. I was out of work for three months and just returned on 2/28/11.

    I wish you the best.
    LYNN
    1981 Surgery with Harrington Rod; fused from T2 to L3 - Dr.Keim (at 26 years old)
    2000 Partial Rod Removal
    2001 Right Scapular Resection
    12/07/2010 Surgical stabilization L3 through sacrum with revision harrington rod instrumentation, interbody fusion and pre-sacral fusion L5-S1 - Dr. Boachie (at 56 years old)
    06/11/14 - Posterior cervical fusion C3 - T3 (Mountaineer System) due to severely arthritic joints - Dr. Patrick O'Leary (at age 59)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    966
    Yes! It's worth travelling!!

    (I haven't had surgery, but I can tell you just from reading this forum that having a good surgeon--the BEST surgeon you can get--is absolutely imperative!)

    ,
    Evelyn
    age 44
    80* thoracolumbar; 40* thoracic
    Reduced to ~16* thoracolumbar; ~0* thoracic
    Surgery 3/14/12 with Dr. Lenke, T4 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Not "confused" anymore, but don't know how to change my username.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    i am completely shocked!
    i thought that was how he worked...taking reimbursements...
    it didn't help me, as i have the kind of insurance where i must go to an in network surgeon, but i thought he did take insurance reimbursement..

    BUT...last week i read that someone had to pay UPFRONT and wait for pay back from their insurance company...
    and i have read several folks on forum writing the same type of thing over the past year or so!

    so obviously, the answer is to call the office and ask them point blank whether or not your own insurance is sufficient...becausee i know not all insurances are created equal, and not all are treated equally by Boachie's office...other doctor's offices as well...

    best of luck
    jess

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