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Thread: What was the background of you Surgeon?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    El Centro, CA & Baja California, Mexico
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    193

    What was the background of you Surgeon?

    Who should do your Spinal Fusion? Was your surgeon a specialist in SCOLIOSIS???
    Is any surgeon specializing in the Spine and its branches good enough to handle a back with this particular deformity?

    Question is:
    After consulting with a well known head of the Orthopeadic Spine Surgery Dept at a well known California Medical School who recommended removal of implants because they are causing problems (iliac pedicle screws and surrounding back instrumentation after fusion) i.e. debilitating pains.

    I am in doubt because my original surgeon said: I am a specialist in Scoliosis and your other doctor is degenerative doctor, so does not deal with scoliosis patients

    Is this a valid statement? Please I need to know if that is an important consideration. I am assuming that everyone here has scoliosis so did everyone had surgery by an scoliosis surgeon?
    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

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
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    If it were me, I would stick with one of the docs on the SRS list as they do specialize in scoliosis and have demonstrated experience. But you want somebody who does a lot of adults and not just teenagers as our problems include degeneration. You really need both, in my opinion.

    But for you, if surgery caused your problems, why are you considering another major surgery? If you have a focused spot that is irritated, it's not a big deal to have a screw removed, but I would want to be pretty certain that additional surgery is warranted.
    Before 39* lumbar at age 18, progressed to 74* lumbar and 22* thoracic age 55
    ALIF Jan 13, 2015, PLIF Jan 15, 2015 with Dr William Stevens, Honor Health
    Fused T-7 to S-1 with pelvic fixation

    After 38* lumbar

    Xrays
    Before: http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...7&d=1414268930

    After: http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...6&d=1424894360

  3. #3
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    I agree, panicked to think of another major surgery

    One one hand the doctor who placed the hardware a Scolio expert is against removal.

    The other hand, my pain is so great on a daily basis and this other SPINE doctor head of orthopeadic at UC San Diego is proposing removal of hardware. He makes total sense as each time he pushes on the points, I jump 3 floors up.

    My husband and I scheduled a 4 day trip from home to St louis (4 hours drive + 5 hours plane ride) to see my original surgeon and find out why he does not want the removal. This is for peace of mind. Whatever he propose will have to be schedule for another trip.

    But, the doctor in San Diego makes sense, I trust his ability to remove and MAYBE take away the pain. BUT, I still have scoliosis and if I live another 15-25 years what is the quality.

    Wish I can go to psychic with a white glass ball to tell me the future.
    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

  4. #4
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    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
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    My awesome doctor specializes in scoliosis surgery. He does around three per week. He does certain other spinal surgeries but it's for his skills as a scoliosis surgeon that he's known.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  5. #5
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    May 2012
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    Spine versus scoliosis surgeon

    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferG View Post
    My awesome doctor specializes in scoliosis surgery. He does around three per week. He does certain other spinal surgeries but it's for his skills as a scoliosis surgeon that he's known.
    Thanks, Jennifer

    I wanted to know if I would be safe in the hands of a Spine (weekly) specialist removing the hardware if or versus the original surgeon who is an Scolio expert.

    I am feeling worse everyday.
    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

  6. #6
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    Oct 2008
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    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
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    I'm so sorry Gardenia. I can't imagine your disappointment after all you've already been through. I'm not the person to say which surgeon would be the one but I wish you great success. I hope others who've had their rods removed can help you.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  7. #7
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    Aug 2012
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    San Francicsco Bay Area
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    hardware removal

    Gardenia:

    When I had my hardware removal, I had on ordinary spine surgeon, not a Scoliosis specialist, do it. The two Scoliosis surgeons I asked about it told me the metal would not be causing me pain and even went so far as to say that bone didn't hurt! Of course this was twenty years ago. Anyway, I went for a third consult and booked the surgery the next week with a new, young spine surgeon. Taking the hardware out is not the same as putting it in as you are not correcting anything, you are just taking it out. Back then they didn't have MRI's, so it was done by an X ray only. I was told it would take three hours, it took eight plus hours as the bone had grown over the metal. It was the best thing in the world to get all the hardware removed, and if I have fusion to the sacrum, which, with my pain being what it is, I will almost certainly have to, I will DEFINITELY book a hardware removal as soon as possible afterwards. If you type in "hardware removal scoliosis surgery" on youtube you will see videos of people talking about it. Also, feel free to PM me about it was well. Good luck, do what's best for YOUR body, you're the one who has to live with it.

  8. #8
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    Thumbs up thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by Tableone View Post
    Gardenia:

    When I had my hardware removal, I had on ordinary spine surgeon, not a Scoliosis specialist, do it. The two Scoliosis surgeons I asked about it told me the metal would not be causing me pain and even went so far as to say that bone didn't hurt! Of course this was twenty years ago. Anyway, I went for a third consult and booked the surgery the next week with a new, young spine surgeon. Taking the hardware out is not the same as putting it in as you are not correcting anything, you are just taking it out. Back then they didn't have MRI's, so it was done by an X ray only. I was told it would take three hours, it took eight plus hours as the bone had grown over the metal. It was the best thing in the world to get all the hardware removed, and if I have fusion to the sacrum, which, with my pain being what it is, I will almost certainly have to, I will DEFINITELY book a hardware removal as soon as possible afterwards. If you type in "hardware removal scoliosis surgery" on youtube you will see videos of people talking about it. Also, feel free to PM me about it was well. Good luck, do what's best for YOUR body, you're the one who has to live with it.
    I was looking exactly for this answer.

    My husband and I are flying to st Louis a week from wednesday April 26 or so just to get/hear why Dr Bridwell, one of the best scolio tell me why not to remove or offer me an alternative. My husband is in San Francisco on business for two days and visiting my old neighborhood (Belmont, Ca) which I miss dearly. I am alone because I am in so much pain & can't take a step.

    We had to go all the way to ST LOUIS to not leave any question/answers untold. However dismal, I have scheduled for removal by dr Garfin (solely) a spine surgeon on May 28th @UCSD

    I trust and am glad that you can validate that he can do the job. Dr Garfin told me this is not his first time. He also specializes on iliac pain and has a lonng lenghty CV. I would have never doubted him except when dr B. mentioned a scolio specialist vs a spine deformity doctor, !what?!##!?

    Of course, I would not have a plumber try to tune my piano, would I?

    However, without the hardware what is my curve depend on from collapsing? I hope never to have a 3rd surgery. I find myself already at a dead end. With this pain in the last month, I am so close to be dead rather than suffer more each day. NO, nothing other than depression for now. I have two wonderful girls getting their hard earned PhD in about 2-3yrs and I have to ba alive to brag and wait for grandbabies.

    Thanks TableOne
    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

  9. #9
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    San Francicsco Bay Area
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    Hi Gardenia:

    Once the bone is fused, it is my understanding that you no longer need the hardware. My curve had not gotten worse or anything since my hardware removal twenty years ago; it is a solid 47 degrees. However, I don't know if this is different in the sacrum area, but I'm assuming not as I was told by a Scoliosis surgeon at Stanford that after I'm fused to the sacrum that I can indeed have a hardware removal surgery done. It's just that people don't do it that often, and that is why you don't hear about it that much. Your pain might not be all reduced, but it feels DAMN GOOD to get all that junk out of there, I can tell you. Plus no more leaning back against hard chairs and feeling metal. One thing to be warned about, and I'm posting this for everyone else reading: my body went into a sort of shock when I got home without the metal and I shook violently for several days because I was so cold. My physical therapist (the doctors had never heard of this and didn't know what to say) said it was from my body adjusting to losing the metal. So, have some hot water bottles and heating pads around and a hospital bed rental would be a good idea. However, maybe for you this won't happen (the cold thing) as you have less hardware to remove than I did. Good luck, I'm excited for you!

  10. #10
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    Location
    Nashville, TN
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    Told by lenke that curves would return if i had removal

    Gardenia, I had my surgery done by LENKE, same office in St. Louis. I'm curios how you are doing since you had hardware removal. I was told by LENKE that my curves would return if I the hardware removed and it wouldn't help my pain. I am 3 years out from my surgery so I know my bone has grown over the hardware plus I have pelvic fixation w iliac screws. Can removal even be done this far out from original surgery and with this much hardware in??? I've not even considered it since I was told by "the best" not to.

    Hope your pain is better. It stinks, I know suffer daily with extreme sciatic and hip pain and have everyday for 3 years.

    Pam
    Pam, age 49
    Thoracolumbar curves 80 and 40 corrected to 20 degrees
    April 20, 2012 surgery with Dr. Lenke
    T-3 to sacrum

  11. #11
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    NO more pain!!! and living quite nicely

    Well, should have updated this forum but here it is. Spent the worse 3 months between prior to going to see Bridwell and a month after he told me everything is beautiful and in place. I should be good to go forward as long as I don't remove my hardware by Dr Garfin at UCSF. There doctors are more into their doing a perfect job than into the patient's pain. Pain was was better in the beginning of May as I was in St Louis and having my baby daughter with us.

    Once back to El Centro which is 2.5 hours from San Diegok I did three things.

    1. visit a pain doctor (actually it was only a nurse assistant) who is qualified to dispense medicine to people with pain. He does not look for the pain just treat it.
    2. go to a psychiatrist to see about anti-depressant meds (Effexor XR) that I was taking for years to alleviate pain with no success. I was taking 3 pills/day and he removed one and added abilify (costs a lot of money and but it WORKED)!!!!!
    3. Found a accupuncture Korean guy but not sure it is working.

    This is really great news as I am in much less pain with the Fentamyl patch. Started at 25mg and now at 50mg. And, the mental imbalance that caused depression as the pain was so debilitating.

    I cancelled my surgery to remove all my hardware as Dr Bridwell convinced me to not do it. And, I am glad, I did not.

    I am open to any questions if you contact me directly, I can answer mch quicker and this notification system is not working right. ccmai4G@gmail.com


    Gardenia
    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

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,707
    Gardenia,
    I am glad to read that you are doing much better!
    Karen

    Surgery-Jan. 5, 2011-Dr. Lenke
    Fusion T-4-sacrum-2 cages/5 osteotomies
    70 degree thoracolumbar corrected to 25
    Rib Hump-GONE!
    Age-60 at the time of surgery
    Now 66
    Avid Golfer & Tap Dancer
    Retired Kdgn. Teacher

    See photobucket link for:
    Video of my 1st Day of Golf Post-Op-3/02/12-Bradenton, FL
    Before and After Picture of back 1/7/11
    tap dancing picture at 10 mos. post op 11/11/11-I'm the one on the right.
    http://s1119.photobucket.com/albums/k630/pottoff2/

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    7,125
    Quote Originally Posted by gardenia View Post
    Well, should have updated this forum but here it is. Spent the worse 3 months between prior to going to see Bridwell and a month after he told me everything is beautiful and in place. I should be good to go forward as long as I don't remove my hardware by Dr Garfin at UCSF. There doctors are more into their doing a perfect job than into the patient's pain. Pain was was better in the beginning of May as I was in St Louis and having my baby daughter with us.

    Once back to El Centro which is 2.5 hours from San Diegok I did three things.

    1. visit a pain doctor (actually it was only a nurse assistant) who is qualified to dispense medicine to people with pain. He does not look for the pain just treat it.
    2. go to a psychiatrist to see about anti-depressant meds (Effexor XR) that I was taking for years to alleviate pain with no success. I was taking 3 pills/day and he removed one and added abilify (costs a lot of money and but it WORKED)!!!!!
    3. Found a accupuncture Korean guy but not sure it is working.

    This is really great news as I am in much less pain with the Fentamyl patch. Started at 25mg and now at 50mg. And, the mental imbalance that caused depression as the pain was so debilitating.

    I cancelled my surgery to remove all my hardware as Dr Bridwell convinced me to not do it. And, I am glad, I did not.

    I am open to any questions if you contact me directly, I can answer mch quicker and this notification system is not working right. ccmai4G@gmail.com


    Gardenia
    For the record, Steve Garfin is at UCSD, not UCSF. :-)
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinmomTN View Post
    Gardenia, I had my surgery done by LENKE, same office in St. Louis. I'm curios how you are doing since you had hardware removal. I was told by LENKE that my curves would return if I the hardware removed and it wouldn't help my pain. I am 3 years out from my surgery so I know my bone has grown over the hardware plus I have pelvic fixation w iliac screws. Can removal even be done this far out from original surgery and with this much hardware in??? I've not even considered it since I was told by "the best" not to.

    Hope your pain is better. It stinks, I know suffer daily with extreme sciatic and hip pain and have everyday for 3 years.

    Pam
    Implants can be removed many years after surgery, as long as there's not a lot of bony overgrowth. If the implants are really buried, I think it's generally not advisable to remove any implants that have to be dug out.

    --Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  15. #15
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    May 2008
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    reno,nevada
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    Gardinia

    The decision to remove hardware is not an easy decision......going back in there and dealing with bone overgrowth like Linda mentioned and scar tissue is not something to take lightly. Scar tissue can really cause problems....Remove your rods and you will re-curve in time. It almost defeats the main purpose of having scoliosis surgery to begin with. Karen Ocker posted about this years ago as it happened to her....I miss her posts

    So glad they have the meds balanced out for you.....this being a challenge especially if undiagnosed comorbidities are present. I’ve seen this happen.....”Oh guess what, you have this now, and your on the wrong meds”. (Both of these cases were undiagnosed diabetics) and who knows what else.....

    and it does make you wonder. And it’s a blessing when things are working.

    Thanks for letting us know...

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 61, the new 61...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

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