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Thread: Advice on surgeons in nyc/philly area

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    4

    Advice on surgeons in nyc/philly area

    This is my first time posting to this forum and have found many of the postings to be informative and supportive. My mother, in her mid 60s, has been suffering from scoliosis for years and I have seen her live with and accept the pain. However within the past 6 month, the pain has escalated to the point where she is practically bedridden. I am writing on her behalf to find both support for her and advice on the surgeons she has seen.

    In particular, I want to find out a little more about Drs. Errico/Frempong from NYU Hospital for Joint Disease and Dr. Todd Albert from Jefferson University. (Drs. Rowland and Boachie from HSS REFUSE to see her due to insurance issues. Dr. Camissa has consulted on her, but no longer performs the surgery that she requires.) She will need surgical correction via both anterior and posterior approaches with rods.

    Information and personal experiences regarding these surgeons and/or other surgeons in the NYC/Philly area would be very helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    360
    I saw Dr. Albert for a second opinion last March. He is a very experienced and confident surgeon. He did my aunt's surgery a few years ago for spinal stenosis. She is extremely happy with the results. My surgery was done by Dr. Fras at Lankenau Hospital. He did an excellent job with my surgery and he is extremely nice. I chose Dr. Fras because I had this feeling seconds after I met him that he would do my surgery. He was the only doctor who took my scoliosis seriously and didn't treat me like an idiot.

    Good luck!

    Shell
    Chemist, 30

    1998- 18 degrees
    2003- 33 degrees
    2005- 37 degrees
    2006- 44 degrees
    May 2007- 47 degrees
    December 2007 - 50 degrees X-ray

    Surgery May 27, 2008
    Fused T1 to L2
    Curve corrected to 15 degrees X-ray

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    237
    I am 58 years old and just had surgery done by Dr. Frank Rand in Boston. I am from the Philadelphia area. I saw Dr. Boachie who was my other choice but I don't have an extra $80k hanging around to pay him. Dr. Rand is in my insurance plan which really was a bonus but besides that, as the 5th doctor that I saw, he was the one I felt most comfortable with. I felt really confident in his ability to do my surgery. I think he does scoliosis and kyphosis type surgeries only and he has been doing them for a good number of years. Since I am only 2 weeks from my last surgery I really can't say too much about the results other than I look a hell of a lot straighter and the pain I had pre surgery is not there but the surgical pain more than makes up for it. I would say he is well worth the visit. It is a really difficult decision to make and it is a real shame that Philadelphia does not have anyone to do scoliosis surgeries of the same high caliber as the surgeons who did both my total hip replacements and that was at the Rothman Institute where Todd Albert is from (I think).
    Good luck in your search.
    avis

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,294

    Exclamation Medicare-beware

    I would advise anyone deciding to delay surgery until it gets terrible not to wait for Medicare.

    Many doctors do not take Medicare in any form because the reimbursements are too low. This has happened with my former Gyn and also, even though I had surgery by Dr. Boachie 6 years ago I still must pay the full office visit every 2 years for my follow-up.

    There are some docs who charge the "Medicare limiting charge" which is slightly higher that regular Medicare reimbursements. Some Medigap policies cover the difference some don't.

    Unfortunately, those on Medicare can become the new "uninsured insured" if local docs do not participate in Medicare. No wonder we need health reform.
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    4

    Experience with Dr. Errico

    Thanks so much for the responses. We went to see Dr. Alberts at Jefferson this past week. He was not very positive about the surgery and left me feeling unsure of his ability to perform this big operation on my mother. Dr. Errico is the only surgeon that we have met with to date who is interested in performing the procedure and accepts her insurance. If anyone has had surgery performed by Dr. Errico or know of anyone who has, it would be great to hear about your experiences.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago north suburb
    Posts
    772
    In my opinion, this is yet another reason why surgery if at all possible should not be postponed much beyond age 50 and when your curves are 70 degrees or more. These are big grueling surgeries for even the most experienced surgeons. And as these surgeons get older, they realize their limitations. What they were able to do 20 years ago becomes more taxing as they get older. And Im speaking as a 60-year-old. My family told me that when my surgeon came out of my surgery after 12 hours, he looked very tired; and at age 40 or so, hes a fairly young doctor. If you wait too long, it may be difficult to find a surgeon near you whos gung-ho about performing a big A/P surgery and you may ultimately find yourself having to travel out of state for surgery.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    Quote Originally Posted by ApplePie View Post
    Thanks so much for the responses. We went to see Dr. Alberts at Jefferson this past week. He was not very positive about the surgery and left me feeling unsure of his ability to perform this big operation on my mother. Dr. Errico is the only surgeon that we have met with to date who is interested in performing the procedure and accepts her insurance. If anyone has had surgery performed by Dr. Errico or know of anyone who has, it would be great to hear about your experiences.
    If I left a surgeon's office feeling unsure and uneasy, there would be no way that I'd let him do my surgery, no matter what. You have to find someone you trust and have confidence in completely.
    __________________________________________
    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    237
    i visited Dr. Vacarro in that office and I was not comfortable with him. The first meeting with him or any surgeon for that matter, he gave me a stack of paper some of which described what he planned to do and one piece of paper was something I had to sign which said that i would stop taking narcotics before surgery. OUt of 5 doctors that I met with, he was the only one who was so militant about drugs. I ended up going out of state to see Dr. Rand in Boston. I am glad that I made that decision.
    avis

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