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Thread: To all of you who interviewed more than one surgeon, help me how to decide

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,525

    To all of you who interviewed more than one surgeon, help me how to decide

    I just read Gardenia's blog and know that she interviewed many doctors. I plan to do the same.
    How did any of you that interviewed more than one doctor decide on which doctor to go with?
    Was there a pivotal question that was especially good at sorting out the doctors?
    Did you have a list of questions, and could you send them to me?....if so, send me a PM, and I will send you my private email.

    Thanks in advance as I am really struggling with this and want help.
    Susan
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal surgery for Spinal Cord Injury at T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone + prayer

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    El Centro, CA & Baja California, Mexico
    Posts
    193

    how to interview?

    I don't know if this is important but I decided the minute I was in Dr Bridwell's presence that he is the one. I stayed until this week (initially a two weeks second visit that lasted to 6 wks because of blood tests that could have been done in parallel with other tests. I was there one week early and one week extra after missing my scheduled flight back $150 penalty for United but with doctor's letter they will refund some).

    I see why Dr. Bridwell has a shorter wait than Dr. Lenke's schedule of one year ahead. A lot of things happen when we are older. I am more sure of Dr. Bridwell because the man talks to the xrays and one can tell he knows and wants to be totally positively sure before cutting.

    On the visit, as he came in, he said: do you or do you not have diabetes? I said: fortunately not!!! His comment was that a another doctor (I think that they all consult each other frequently as they all work for the Wash University) and a recent surgery involving a patient with Diabetes was having complications.

    My daughter is a second year medical research graduate student. She graduated from UCLA and was accepted by all the schools she applied (except Stanford but that was because of what she wanted to specialize). Her 2 top schools were UCSF and WashU. Both my girls were born in northern California and attended the UC schools. UCSF was her dream but at the last minute a couple of my opinion and her visits made her choose WashU.

    1. Cost of living
    2. California is extremely competitive
    3. WashU seems to be lab organization friendly where they all collaborated with each other
    4. A State Funded versus a private school

    The point is that she is very happy to have chosen Washu because when she or her lab needs a sample, data, vision, microscope, research database etc, everything was just down the hall. Meetings within PI (principal investigators i..e. head of reseach labs) were often. Graduate students can work in one or more labs to get to his/her thesis.

    And, this is to say that Bridwell who trained Lenke must be working closely. They share a lot of studies (tracking patients results). This is not a private practice as the surgeons (same as UCSF) are not there to make money nor the hospital. They exist in order to publish the next accomplishment, the next idea or change in procedure, they improve each time. They need us the patients as guinea pigs for a better future and research not of pocket gain.

    I am so convinced in this facility that I have no doubts nor anxieties about the surgery. I know that I am in good hands. The recovery is up to me and my body, mind, and spirits.

    This is not a simple matter, we are doing something major and could fail in some ways. My route with Dr Bridwell although accidents can happen, is like buying extra insurance.

    Good luck to all. If you need more, please write to me here or directly since I have not been checking...
    Gardenia
    Baja California, Mexico & El Centro, Ca
    pre-surgery 75 and 89 - post ?
    Dr. Bridwell Nov 27, 2012 @Barnes Jewish @62yrs
    T11 to Sacrum Dural leak at L2 & L3 ccmail4g@gmail.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    Sometimes it just boils down to your gut. Who do you feel more comfortable with? Of course, out of pocked costs and hospital reputation always come into consideration too.
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    83
    i think it depends on your gut. I chose the doctor that looked at my spine as an individual case, and not taking my case as a "text book" case. He thought about different decisions, and talked me through all of my options. Others that I saw just looked at one xray and made a decision. Not taking into consideration flexibiity, bending xrays etc... So i chose that way. GL!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    966
    I chose the doctor with the most experience with adult scoliosis patients. Not teens and not spines generally. So the only question that really mattered to me was: "How many adult scoliosis surgeries do you do each year?" (That was after I made sure they accepted my insurance, of course.) Dr. Lenke did my surgery; I think he does about 2 adults per week. That compares with my local SRS surgeon who did 25 spinal fusions a year--including teens.

    Best,
    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.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,525
    Quote Originally Posted by gardenia View Post
    I don't know if this is important but I decided the minute I was in Dr Bridwell's presence that he is the one. I stayed until this week (initially a two weeks second visit that lasted to 6 wks because of blood tests that could have been done in parallel with other tests. I was there one week early and one week extra after missing my scheduled flight back $150 penalty for United but with doctor's letter they will refund some).

    I see why Dr. Bridwell has a shorter wait than Dr. Lenke's schedule of one year ahead. A lot of things happen when we are older. I am more sure of Dr. Bridwell because the man talks to the xrays and one can tell he knows and wants to be totally positively sure before cutting.

    On the visit, as he came in, he said: do you or do you not have diabetes? I said: fortunately not!!! His comment was that a another doctor (I think that they all consult each other frequently as they all work for the Wash University) and a recent surgery involving a patient with Diabetes was having complications.

    My daughter is a second year medical research graduate student. She graduated from UCLA and was accepted by all the schools she applied (except Stanford but that was because of what she wanted to specialize). Her 2 top schools were UCSF and WashU. Both my girls were born in northern California and attended the UC schools. UCSF was her dream but at the last minute a couple of my opinion and her visits made her choose WashU.

    1. Cost of living
    2. California is extremely competitive
    3. WashU seems to be lab organization friendly where they all collaborated with each other
    4. A State Funded versus a private school

    The point is that she is very happy to have chosen Washu because when she or her lab needs a sample, data, vision, microscope, research database etc, everything was just down the hall. Meetings within PI (principal investigators i..e. head of reseach labs) were often. Graduate students can work in one or more labs to get to his/her thesis.

    And, this is to say that Bridwell who trained Lenke must be working closely. They share a lot of studies (tracking patients results). This is not a private practice as the surgeons (same as UCSF) are not there to make money nor the hospital. They exist in order to publish the next accomplishment, the next idea or change in procedure, they improve each time. They need us the patients as guinea pigs for a better future and research not of pocket gain.

    I am so convinced in this facility that I have no doubts nor anxieties about the surgery. I know that I am in good hands. The recovery is up to me and my body, mind, and spirits.

    This is not a simple matter, we are doing something major and could fail in some ways. My route with Dr Bridwell although accidents can happen, is like buying extra insurance.

    Good luck to all. If you need more, please write to me here or directly since I have not been checking...
    Thanks for your information. I hope that I get to the "no anxiety" point also.
    Susan
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal surgery for Spinal Cord Injury at T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone + prayer

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,525
    Thanks to all of you for your input. It is helpful to try and understand this decision. When I look in the mirror, I see a body that appears to be listing to the right and leaning backwards more each month. I am not looking forward to hearing the news about change in my spine when I have my xrays done again in Jan 2013. I want to be prepared to go for a second opinion as it is reasonable for me to have the surgery either here or at UCSF [my son and dau-in-law are nurse practitioners and lives in Oakland].
    Again, I appreciate your taking the time to share your decision-making.
    Susan
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal surgery for Spinal Cord Injury at T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone + prayer

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    79

    Who's done the most surgeries in NY?

    Quote Originally Posted by Confusedmom View Post
    I chose the doctor with the most experience with adult scoliosis patients. Not teens and not spines generally. So the only question that really mattered to me was: "How many adult scoliosis surgeries do you do each year?" (That was after I made sure they accepted my insurance, of course.) Dr. Lenke did my surgery; I think he does about 2 adults per week. That compares with my local SRS surgeon who did 25 spinal fusions a year--including teens.

    Best,
    Evelyn
    Hi all,
    Evelyn makes a good point. Other than Boachie (he doesn't take my insurance), does anyone know who does the most adults in NY? And how closely behind the other NY surgeons would rank? Thanks.
    Lisa
    60 degree thorocolumbar curve beginning at T12
    58 years old

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    San Francicsco Bay Area
    Posts
    127
    Dr. Fabian Bitan in NYC does many deformity surgeries. He actually trained with Cotrel in Paris.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    83
    For NYC, there's Dr. Baron Lonner (he did my surgery), Dr. Errico at NYU. Those were the ones I saw. I know there are a few others but those are places to start. Do. Lonner does 2-3 adult surgeries per week.

    I saw 5 different doctors who all said the same thing. Since everyone had the same opinion, I chose the doctor I felt the most comfortable with and the one who answered all of my questions. It would have been harder to choose if they had had different opinions.

    You'll find the right one!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,974
    You are being so nice, but those are really old posts (2012) ... I don't think anyone is asking right now.
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

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