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Do I need a second opinion?

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  • Do I need a second opinion?

    Dr. Keith Bridwell did my first spinal fusion in 1987 T4-L4 here in St Louis, MO. Now I am facing more surgery into my sacrum. According to Dr. Bridwell, I have stenosis of the spine below the fusion and degenerative disc disease below L4. The numbness/tingling in my legs from this is troubling. SO...should I seek a second opinion or just go with this nationally recognized expert in this surgery. Friends are talking chiropractor types of treatment and I am well beyond that, I'm sure.
    P.S. Milwaukee brace 1964-1968 Dr Moe in Minneapolis, MN (early teenager) 70 degree 'S' curve
    T4-L4 fusion Dr Bridwell 1987 St Louis, MO (thirties) corrected to 50 degree 'S' curve

  • #2
    Considering who gave you this advice, I can't see any reason to bother with a second opinion. Well meaning friends just don't understand about scoli surgery and revision surgery - they think of the common back problems/surgeries when they think "back surgery". From what I've learned on this forum, no reputable chiro would even want to lay a finger on your back. Even if now you have a more "regular person" back problem, the fact that your fusion surgery exists puts you in a whole other category than the "regular person" - and it's a Dr. Bridwell (a scoli surgeon who is experienced with revision surgeries) that you need. No less will do. Good luck!
    Fused T-3 to L-3, Aug 25
    Hardware removal surgery, Nov 2, 2010
    Fused T-10 to L-2, osteotomy, Feb 22, 2011


    • #3
      Hi, Jean, It is never wrong to a second , or more. The Dr. who did my first surgery is a very good scoliosis surgeon, but he does not do revision, not all Dr's. do. He sent me to Johns Hopkins (Dr. Kebaish), I feel that was my second, and I am doing surgery May 9, good luck to you, Lu


      • #4
        i would definitely suggest a second or even third opinion..especially if your insurance covers it! what would be the harm? sometimes even top surgeons differ on how far to fuse, or even whether or not minimally invasive approach is a possibility..
        also...Dr Bridwell cancelled a couple of complicated surgeries at the last minute last can check that out on forum ("osumike" was one of the patients cancelled...i just rechecked it) no one is infallible!! (do an advanced search above using the name "osumike" and you will see what i mean)

        best of luck with your revision...
        Last edited by jrnyc; 02-28-2011, 03:40 PM.


        • #5

          Dr. Bridwell does a large number of revision surgeries, so I'm not sure what a second opinion will buy you. The one thing I can say with about 99% certainty is that chiropractic treatment will not help you. Radicular pain cannot be addressed by any type of alternative treatment.

          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


          • #6
            Hello Jean,

            I am in a similar situation that you are currently facing and will be having revision surgery on March 11th, and will include removal of the broken harrington rod that I currently have.


            • #7
              Originally posted by JSouth View Post
              Dr. Keith Bridwell did my first spinal fusion in 1987 T4-L4 here in St Louis, MO. Now I am facing more surgery into my sacrum. According to Dr. Bridwell, I have stenosis of the spine below the fusion and degenerative disc disease below L4.
              You might have the record for going the longest with a fusion to L4 before needing a revision. That is really something... 24 years. I hope the third generation hardware can extend the time even more for these folks. For example, a teenage boy who was fused only a few years ago was told there was only about a 15% chance of needing revision with his T4-L4 fusion. I hope that's right.

              Friends are talking chiropractor types of treatment
              These types of bunny comments are never helpful. They aren't based on any actual knowledge. You have a top surgeon. That's the only game in town for anyone really.

              Good luck.
              Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

              No island of sanity.

              Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
              Answer: Medicine

              "We are all African."


              • #8
                Revision Surgery

                Hi JSouth (and BThumble), I had revision surgery exactly 12 weeks ago today, and is very similar to what you are up against. Dr. Boachie took out the bottom part of my Harrington rod that has been in there for 30 years and replaced with two rods, two cages, screws, etc. I had degenerated disease, facet arthrosis and spondylolistheses. I am now fused to the sacrum. I never had sciatica pain. I was in chronic pain for years, too many years. Today I am pain free. I'm 56 and I feel amazing. I went back to work yesterday, commuting to NYC by bus. I did not get a second opinion as I was in Dr. Boachie's care for many years. I wish you the best. LYNN
                1981 Surgery with Harrington Rod; fused from T2 to L3 - Dr.Keim (at 26 years old)
                2000 Partial Rod Removal
                2001 Right Scapular Resection
                12/07/2010 Surgical stabilization L3 through sacrum with revision harrington rod instrumentation, interbody fusion and pre-sacral fusion L5-S1 - Dr. Boachie (at 56 years old)
                06/11/14 - Posterior cervical fusion C3 - T3 (Mountaineer System) due to severely arthritic joints - Dr. Patrick O'Leary (at age 59)


                • #9
                  Grateful for your comments!

                  Thanks everyone for your comments. I appreciate the time you took to post. I never thought my twenty-four years with a T4-L4 fusion would have set any records. It actually makes me feel MUCH better about things.
                  My current plan is revision surgery in the fall and meanwhile working on getting into better shape (Weight Watchers, aquatic exercise, etc.).