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Thread: How Long Did it Take You to Make a Decision

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    San Jose, CA

    How Long Did it Take You to Make a Decision

    Can you please share how long did it take you to make a decision to have a surgery and how many opinions did you get? How many opinions is too many?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    I think you get as many opinions as you need to feel comfortable and confident in your surgeon. I may be stating the obvious here, but I don't think this decision can be rushed and we need that confidence, to get us there.

    We are all different as are our spines. Some might make the decision quickly based on the urgency of their need. Others need lots of time to weigh up various opinions, gather confidence and get a mental picture of the surgery and the consequences of surgery, etc. Some have plenty of time to make the decision due to little pain, and slow progression. We shouldn't feel guilty if we need extra time, more opinions. It's all part of the journey.

    If you're wanting examples, I can give you mine. I was in moderate pain only. I saw only one surgeon and I had confidence in him. He came well recommended. At that first appt., the surgery date was set for 2.5 months time. I cancelled because I just couldn't get my head around it and needed more time to prepare mentally (and, as it turned out, physically.) I then re-booked the date and it was 9 months from my surgeon's appt that I had the surgery.
    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern California
    Hi Irina...

    Prior to my surgeries last year, I had known I would almost certainly need surgery for at least 12-13 years. I kept putting it off because I wanted to be certain that it was something I couldn't avoid. Eventually, when the pain and disability got so bad, I knew the time was upon me, and I set the date.

    I don't think it will help you to know how long it took someone else. I'm sure you'll find examples here of people who made the decision right away, and people who haven't made the decision after many years. You seem fairly unsure about the decision for yourself, so my recommendation be that you not jump into anything, and wait and see if you have that AHA! moment when you know it's right.

    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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Indianapolis area
    10 years; 6 surgeons; progression of curve from 55 degrees to 84!
    age 48
    80* thoracolumbar; 40* thoracic
    Reduced to ~16* thoracolumbar; ~0* thoracic
    Surgery 3/14/12 with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis, T4 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Broken rods 12/1/19; scheduled for revision fusion L1-L3-4 with Dr. Lenke 2/4/2020
    Not "confused" anymore, but don't know how to change my username.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Ukiah CA
    well first of all i already now surgery was in the my future because my pedatric spine surgeon told me that i probley more and likey need surgery. so when i was 17 i had my yearly check up. i was told i did need surgery so i was reford to dr gupta for a 2nd opinion. he did agree that i needed surgery. it depens on if your trust the doctor or not
    Brace 4-15-05-5-25-06
    Posterior Spinal Fusion 3-10-10
    Before 50T
    After 20T

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Lilburn, GA


    One surgeon, about two months to make a decision. Mainly based on progressing curve, having good insurance at the time, age and good support system.

    I guess I should have gotten a second opinion but I didn't and everything went well. I had a very basic, uncomplicated fusion (compared to some on this forum!).
    50 years old!!!!!
    Wore Milwaulkee Brace 1976-77
    Original curve 36 degrees ( measured in the 70s)
    Advanced to 61 degrees 01/2011
    Surgery 07/11/2011
    Fused T1-L2 (curve now in the 20s!)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    How Long to Make Decision

    It took me close to four years to make a decision to have surgery. I had some contradictory information from my local surgeon which led me to reading a couple of books and doing research. At the insistence of one of my daughters, I saw a surgeon outside of our local area for a second opinion. To make a long story short, I ended up seeing a total of 6 surgeons (which I do not regret) doing more research, praying about the right surgeon to do the surgery and then setting the date. I had my surgery May 17 and May 22, it was a 2-stage surgery.

    I think my research, visiting with the surgeons that I did, praying about my decision and which surgeon to go with paid off because I do not regret having the surgery and am very pleased so far with the results. Praise God I have had no complications and have progressed through my recovery rather nicely. That is not to say that I haven't had the usual things to deal with such as learning to accept my temporary limitations, having to ask others for help, working through not being able to sleep through an entire night for the first four weeks and things like that. However, I am learning to look at the progress that I have made and be thankful for how far I've come rather than focus on what I cannot do.

    As long as your situation is not life threatening, my advice would be to take however long you need to make a decision. Make sure you are confident and satisfied with your surgeon. Do your research so that you know what to expect both before and after surgery. Make sure you'll have help during the first several weeks of recovery if not longer and keep a positive attitude.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    How Long did it take you to make a decision

    This will be my 1st back surgery. I made the decision, as soon as my ribs starting resting on my hip/pelvis bone. It's only going to get worse, and the option of not having surgery is not good either...I would continue to collapse further. This would result in me being in a wheel chair, in 4-5 years, and then there is the effect of the collapse on my vital organs.
    So the decision was made to have surgery. I'm on a wait list...but hopefully it will be sometime this early fall.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    It took about a year to find the right surgeon for my daughter. She was diagnosed at age 12 and had surgery a little over a year later. Our decision to have surgery was pretty much made for us as she was done growing and her curve continued to progress. I took her to 5 different doctors until we made our choice of surgeons. 1st doctor talked to me and never directly to my 12 y.o. daughter; 2nd doctor didn't seem concerned at all with addressing her Kyphosis; 3rd doctor was wonderful! He was honest with us and told us that he could treat Jamie as long as she was in a brace, but he wasn't able to do her surgery if she needed it; 4th doctor was fantastic! We put Jamie's name on Dr. Betz' waiting list after only meeting him once; 5th doctor, was just as amazing as Dr. Betz! Dr. Segal spoke directly to Jamie, answered her questions first, etc. and then turned to me to see if I had any questions. We put our name on his surgical list after one meeting and he was the one who did her surgery.

    You will know when you find the right surgeon for you. Trust your instincts. Talk to other patients who've dealt with the surgeon.

    Good luck,
    Mary Lou
    Mom to Jamie age 21-diagnosed at age 12-spinal fusion 12/7/2004-fused from T3-L2; and Tracy age 19, mild Scoliosis-diagnosed at age 18.

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