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Thread: Laminectomy

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Geneseo, NY
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    Laminectomy

    Yesterday I had an appointment with the local scoliosis specialist in Rochester NY. I returned to see him after nearly 3 years to see if new x-rays indicate any change; he had recommended a return after 1 year. Though my x-rays indicate no change, he was interested in the fact that I now have lumbar spinal stenosis. My symptoms do not currently warrant surgery, but he said if I did get to that point, he would do a laminectomy. He said that he (a scoliosis specialist) would need to do it because this procedure tends to destabilize the spine. I was surprised to hear him suggesting this procedure at all, because it often destabilizes the spine. Is there anyone here who has had success with this procedure instead of a complete revision surgery?
    1966 fusion in Buffalo of 11 thoracic vertebrae, with Harrington rod

  2. #2
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    Jun 2006
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    Euharlee, Georgia
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    I had a laminectomy in 2002. The doctor did not remove all of the fusion. I was having problems with my left leg, so he left the right side fusion alone. He is a neurosurgeon as there are no scoliosis doctors around here. He is doing a disc replacement and removing bone spurs on my C6-C7 disc next week.
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Northern California
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    6,794
    Quote Originally Posted by JulieBW View Post
    Yesterday I had an appointment with the local scoliosis specialist in Rochester NY. I returned to see him after nearly 3 years to see if new x-rays indicate any change; he had recommended a return after 1 year. Though my x-rays indicate no change, he was interested in the fact that I now have lumbar spinal stenosis. My symptoms do not currently warrant surgery, but he said if I did get to that point, he would do a laminectomy. He said that he (a scoliosis specialist) would need to do it because this procedure tends to destabilize the spine. I was surprised to hear him suggesting this procedure at all, because it often destabilizes the spine. Is there anyone here who has had success with this procedure instead of a complete revision surgery?
    Hi..

    I don't understand. The surgeon is saying that a laminectomy would destabilize the spine (which is what I've always heard), but that he would do it anyway???

    --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
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  4. #4
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    Sep 2007
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    Hi Linda,
    I was hoping to hear from you sometime, I know you are recovering. My message was not clear: I thought you have said that any decompression surgery isn't generally done with existing fusions because of the destabilization issue. But this guy says he might want to operate on me, knowing the destabilization issue, and thinking he can accommodate for it I guess. I think his point was that he is the scoliosis specialist, and he would be the best person for this (perhaps instead of a neurosurgeon, who might also do this type of surgery). Are there other scoliosis surgeons who have done that successfully? I had been assuming that my surgical options would be revision or nothing. My gut says RUN FAR AWAY from him, but maybe I am misunderstanding something. His name is Dr. Paul Rubery, who has spent some time in your clinic, and is as SRS member, but he does not inspire my confidence.

    Rainbow, it is always good to hear how things are going for you. I will keep you in my thoughts/prayers next week.
    Last edited by JulieBW; 02-24-2011 at 07:09 PM.
    1966 fusion in Buffalo of 11 thoracic vertebrae, with Harrington rod

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,794
    Hi...

    My understanding is that any decompression without fusion in a person with large scoliosis curves, comes with a very high incidence of instability leading to the need for bigger surgery. I would definitely ask Dr. Rubery what he thinks your chances of needing additional surgery later on would be.

    --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.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2007
    Location
    Geneseo, NY
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    Thanks, Linda. I'm really not expecting to see him again. I've read that stenosis often reaches a certain level, then doesn't get worse, so I'm hoping for that outcome, hoping to avoid any surgery. The neurologist/neurosurgeon I saw recently prescribed tramadol, which I only take if I will be doing a lot of walking, and it helps a lot. Your question is a good one, and I would also ask him how many laminectomies he has done on people with existing scoliosis fusions. I still check in here occasionally, and appreciate all of your helpful responses.
    Last edited by JulieBW; 02-25-2011 at 06:18 PM.
    1966 fusion in Buffalo of 11 thoracic vertebrae, with Harrington rod

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Euharlee, Georgia
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    Julie -
    I just had my C5-C6 disk removed and bone spurs cleaned out. The doctor put in a piece the size of a quarter the was screwed into the C5 and C6 vertabrea. He did not use plates and screws to fuse, just the disk. He went in throught the front of my neck and used superglue to close me! I was in the hospital over night. At 2 weeks out, I was cleared to go back to the pool to start working out again, but still have to take it easy. I have feeling back in my fingers again!! Most of my pain is gone.
    If your gut is telling you to not go back to that doctor, then don't. I would see a neurosurgeon for a second opinion. One did mine and left some of the fusion so I wouldn't loose my stability.
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    2,755
    If you aren't having symptoms, why not wait until it bothers you. Then get an opinion somewhere else? There are plenty of GREAT docs in NY. Is it an insurance issue? I agree it's really unnerving to go to someone with whom you don't have the utmost confidence, especially for something like this.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Geneseo, NY
    Posts
    133
    Hi friends,
    Rainbow, thanks for letting me know that another approach can work. That's the kind of info I'm seeking.

    Rohrer, New York City is a 7-8 hour drive from where I live. I would not consider going there for reasons of distance, insurance, and lack of any desire to be in that city. There is someone in Buffalo I could see if I need further treatment, but I'm hoping I don't. I'm fine right now, and will deal with the future when it arrives. But I still worry some days.
    1966 fusion in Buffalo of 11 thoracic vertebrae, with Harrington rod

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