Need surgery.

Stephan Anagnostaras stephan at psych.ucla.edu
Mon Sep 30 14:33:55 EST 1996


In article <marguell.1194318780A at netnews.upenn.edu>, marguell at rbs.org (yo
pal) wrote:

> I've seen three doctors who recommend surgery - a diskectomy and interbody
> fusion. I would like to know what are the post operative results. My only
> symptoms are extreme weakness in the right arm and pain in the neck and
> shoulder. How successful is this surgery? What about scar tissue?
> The doctors say that any small fender bender, fall, or slap in the back
> could leave me quadruplegic. Very scary. I live in Philadelphia where there
> a lot of very eminent neurosurgeons. Need to see a couple more. I'm in
> search for answers. 
> Any advice?
> Yo Pal (:-) marguell at rbs.org

These kinds of procedures on your spine are very risky in the long-run.
It's not to say the procedure probably won't work in the short-run,
but many people with this kind of surgery end up with chronic
(untreatable) pain. This is particularly true if the spine is subjected
to multiple steroid or anesthetic injections after the procedure,
usually in an effort to actually minimize pain or swelling.   That is,
it is the unfortunate fact that only the short-term consequences of
many of these surgeries are considered.  The sad results of patients
who've had 10-20 of these surgeries are often found in chronic pain clinics.

All this said, this doesn't mean you should NEVER get surgery to fuse two
verta and have a disc removed. However, you need to make sure the surgery
is >absolutely necessary<, and that the doctors will attempt to minimize
multiple procedures, particularly at the site. So my advice - get
multiple second opinions, and make sure you know the specific details of
the surgery, and good luck!

Stephan



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