Questions for the Nuerosurgeon?? Advice please

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Hi,

I'm really looking for any tips from those of you who have had back surgery as to how to prepare best for my appointment. I have an appointment next week with a Nuerosurgeon and have had to go private as the NHS wait in my region is 42 weeks.

I have collated and got together all the information from my complex medical history as well as a letter from my Osteopath who has treated me since 2012. I have copies of all my tests and scans as well as my recent upright MRI.

I am currently in a haze and am finding easy tasks really difficult due to the mega hike in my medications that the hospital regime have put me on. Obviously I want to make the most of the appointment so if you have had surgery is there anything else you recomend I do? In hindsight are there any questions you would have wanted to ask?

I'm normally very clear, coherent and as a teacher and manager am orgaised and methodical. The drugs have taken all that away and I find it hard to concentrate and feel a shell of my old self. How interested in the effects the problem has had on mine and the life of my family will he be? Or will it be better to stick to purely objective facts?

I feel like I'm a lawyer for my own case and need to swot up! I think I'm nervous because I've seen lots of Consultants and some of them have been very dimissive.

So any help and advice gratefully recieved. Thank you for your support in advance. smile

Helen

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Helen

    as you are going private, there ought to be less a sense of rationing so you probably don't need to be as assertive as you have been used to. The point is to establish your symptoms, tie those to your scans and decide if surgery is the best approach now.

    i would just have in mind the level of your symptoms (i.e. how long you can sit or stand, how much pain you have doing or after activities), a record of your drug treatment and any physio you have done.

    i would also read up on the three possible surgeries for disc herniation which are broadly 

    - micro discectomy 

    - dynamic stabilisation

    - fusion

    so you know what the procedures are, what the possible side effects are and chances of success. I would just get facts on those from factual sites.

    Don't judge chances of success based on forums. Forums nearly exclusively attract patients who did not have successful outcomes, or had a long recovery. 

    What you want is for your surgeon to be experienced enough to have seen lots of past patients and be able to talk through your options in a meaningful way. He/she will probably have a clear preference based on their experience so you should not really need to do the driving so to speak.

    just make sure you fully understand how long recovery will be from whatever surgery is opted for and what kind of pain and limitation you can expect during that period.

    Good luck.

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    • Posted

      Hi Michael,

      Thank you for your reply that's so helpful, I've had to go private after waiting six years to get a proper diagnosis on the NHS. The only thing I'm a bit worried about is that my symptons; no ankle reflex, complete foot drop and chronic sciatica have all but disappeared since I was sent into hospital. They have got me on so much medication I can't feel anything. Prior to that I couldn't stand or walk much and sitting was out of the question. Hopefully he will see that it's the drugs that are covering up the problem as I'm really struggling on 600mg Pregabalin, Amytriptylene, Diclofenac, Trazinadine, Diazepam and Morphine. That's what it has taken to stop the pain; it is not a long term solution though and I can't drive, work or look after my chidlren at the moment.

      Long recovery has been the norm for me; it took over a year to return to work as a teacher las time. I just want there to be a more permanent solution than medication for life.

      Thanks again for your advice

      All the best

      Helen

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    Having had an operation 2 years ago, I choose to have a 2nd opinon as orginal surgeon I did not feel had necessary experience- best decision I made.

    In a nutshell my advice would be to question surgeon on his experience, success of outcome, how many operations of your type he has done etc- a good surgeon should welcome such scrunity and not get defensive.

    Are you UK based?

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      I'm in Highland and am going to Glasgow Ross Hall for my appointment. My doctor recomended him highly and he is very experienced working both privately and for the NHS Glasgow Super Hospital. There are no Neurosurgeons at my nearest hospital Raigmore so would be sent from Orthopaedics to Aberdeen, hence the hugely long wait (42+36 weeks).

      Thank you I will check the rate of successful outcome for sure!

      All the best

      Helen

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    • Posted

      Hi Helen

      My husband has been going through a similar situation , suffering with chronic back pain since April this year and been prescribed various different meds. We have recently had a consultation and an MRI at Ross Hall with a neurosurgeon that works at Queen Elizabeth hospital in Glasgow, it may well be the same consultant. We have to go back this week to find out what the MRI found. It sounds as though you are further down the road so to speak than us and wondered what your outcome was?

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    • Posted

      Thanks for any information provided, we also feel like we're going into a court of law!

      Thanks in anticipation of your help

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      It was a bit of a let down really an hour appointment was 20 minutes and he was only interested in the MRI scans and not really anything else, including the medical history that I took with me. According to him I have permanent damage to my sciatic nerve and DDD which is especially bad at L5/S1. Fusion is not an option as I have DDD three levels also above where they would want to fuse. So despite the level of debilitation I have been experiencing and having been hospitalised three times with bladder issues in the past six years surgery is not an option for me.

      So no other options for me apart from medication and limiting my life so I don't aggravate the sciatic nerve. I chose to see him due to his reputation as a Nuerosurgeon  and appreciate that with all his experience it's probably time for me to accept the situation and stop looking for answers.

      I wrote down my physical symptoms, all my medications as well as taking my medical history from 2012 when this all started and also my upright MRI scan which was the only thing he really looked at. Hope that's helpful and that you get some answers. The Nurosurgeon I saw was Mr William Taylor, he works for the NHS Glasgow Super hospital and Ross Hall. It will all come down to the MRI and what other conservative treatments your husband has tried, I have had sciatica for six years now.

      Good luck, all the best!

      Helen

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