View Full Version : what to ask??

07-27-2006, 01:46 PM
Hello Everyone,

First, thanks to all of you who share and give advice. It helps so much, just knowing I'm not alone and that people do listen. I have not posted very much, just reading and learning mostly. I am a 35 years old. I have a 54 degree thoracic curve with osteodegeneration.

I am finally going on my first "real" surgical consultation next Wednesday with Dr. Kebaish at John's Hopkin's. I'm looking forward to talking with someone who knows what he is doing. For the most part I know what I'm planning to ask. But, I would love to hear from the surgery "veterans" out there, please suggest any questions that you feel I should ask. I want to be as prepared as I can. Thank so much.

07-27-2006, 03:41 PM
Great question! I've been wondering the same thing.
All I can tell you is questions I plan on asking, I'm seeing the Dr. next week.

1. How soon can I return to work.
2. When can I drive?
3. What part of my back needs to be fused, which vertebrea?
4. Where will bone graft be taken from?
5. How long will I be in hospital?
6. Will I need to wear a brace? How long?
7. Will I need PT/home health?
8. How will pain be managed?
9. What can I do before and after surgery to help healing process?
10. Is minimally invasive fusion an option?
11. How many procedures do you preform?
12. What are typical outcomes?
13. How much correction can I expect?
14. How long will my surgery take?
15. Which hospital do you use?
16. Will I get a private room?
17. Do they allow children to visit?
18. How can I sleep? On back, belly, side?
19. What are general restrictions?
20. Do I need to bank blood? Can family members donate for me?
I'll let you know if I think of anymore!
Good Luck!
Almost forgot, Where will incision(s) be?

07-27-2006, 05:22 PM
Those are great questions. Just make sure you remember that some can't be answered at 100%, as every fusion is different and every patient recovers in different ways and amount of time. You need patience, and determination. Time is a geat healer, and this forum helps a lot.

07-27-2006, 06:01 PM
Hi Dori...

Be careful about going in with a lot of questions. You definitely want to get questions that are important to you, answered. However, your time with the surgeon is often better spent listening to him/her. They usually have a "spiel" that they give to surgical candidates, and asking a bunch of question may sort of get in the way.

Most important of all, I highly recommend that you take someone with you to be a second pair of ears. I can tell you from having attended appointments with a lot of people, that most patients miss a great deal of what they're told.

Hopefully, if your time is limited with the surgeon, there will be a nurse, PA, or fellow/resident of whom you can ask any number of questions.

Good luck!


07-27-2006, 09:07 PM
Hi Dori--- I second Linda Racine... Let the Doctor start in with the opening. He/she will give you time at the end for your questions.. I condensed mine to a few(had Pre-op today)-the 4 most important ones to me... I did have a few more listed but when I thought about asking them, I realized I pretty much knew the answers & was just looking for reassurance & a 'pat' on the back....
Mine were: 1. Where will my fusion be? T-2 to sacrum as originally
mentioned to me..??
2. How long is my surgery estimated to be?
3. Will I have a rib removal to reduce the hump?
4. Will I have a brace?
after these were answered, he explained where the rods & screws would be placed & where the incisions would be etc... I felt extremely confident in his abilities & skill level. I also felt that any other questions about post-op could be answered after surgery when I come out of my 'morphine' high! I'll update my blog tomorrow on pre-op.......Ps. ditto too on bringing someone in with you because my sister came & heard some things I missed due to my nervousness.......Lynne :)
surgery Aug. 1st... http://lynnebackattack.blogspot.com

07-28-2006, 12:47 AM
Hi Dori,

You have received some excellent advice and questions to ask already.

You can ask all the questions you want, but don't expect the answers to be carved in stone. I believe that every surgery is an "adapt and adjust" type of situation. The surgeon can look at every MRI and all the xray's, but I don't think they really know exactly what to expect until they actually get in there. That why I think trust and belief in your surgeon is very important!!!

If you ask certain questions, and get certain answers, don't be disappointed if the answers are not true for you. We are all different!!! Listen to your body, because in the long run, time is the answer!!!

Just my opinion,

07-28-2006, 03:36 PM
Thank you all for the great advice. I am taking my twin sister with me for the second pair of ears. I do plan on doing a lot of listening, that's what I've wanted all along, to hear an experts opinion about what my future looks like with and/or without surgery.

Lynn- best of luck to you... my prayers are with you for the strength you'll need, with your family for the patience they will need and for your surgeon to have skill and compassion.

07-28-2006, 06:10 PM

I see you mentioned your twin sister, if you don't mind me asking, does she have scoliosis too? (If she's identical)

07-28-2006, 09:59 PM
People ask us that question all the time. We are identical, and she does have a minor curve (going in the oppisite direction), but it is nothing significant. I also had braces on my teeth and wear contact lenses, she does not. We joke all the time and say she must have been kicking me in utero and made me develop crooked. The ironic thing is, we look exactly alike! Lucky for her though, she is my best friend in the world and I would not want this for her, or anyone! If I choose to have surgery, she will be beside me all the way. I am blessed for that.