Back Surgeons and My Decisions
Having had sciatic pain for eight months, I’ve gone through the entire range of physical therapy, chiropractic, and Epidural steroid injections. Unfortunately, none of these worked to any large extent and I was left with one last option – surgery.
The first question I asked numerous people was, “Should I get an orthopedic surgeon or a neuro-surgeon?” They will both work on that back area, but I wanted to know if there was a difference. Almost everyone said to go with the neuro-surgeon.
From previous back surgery experience I have learned to always get more than one opinion. Ten years ago surgeon #1 wanted to do a fusion. When I went to surgeon #2, he said that we first should try to go in and clean up anything impinging on the nerve. When I went back to surgeon #1 and gave him surgeon #2’s suggestion he replied, “Oh yeah we could do that.” I wanted to yell at him, “Then why didn’t you tell me that in the first place?”
It’s ironic that ten years later I had a similar experience.
- Surgeon #1 wanted to do a fusion (this is where they put titanium rods and screws in your back.) He did not mention any other options. I have read a couple of articles indicating that spinal fusion doesn’t seem to be better than alternatives. (2)
- Surgeon #2 looked at my MRI and said he knew what the problem was by looking at the MRI and CT scans. I had a cyst pushing against the nerve. He was very positive about what the problem was.
- Surgeon #3 was the least exact. He basically said that it was hard to say exactly was pushing up against the nerve or exactly where it was other than the L5 area.
I ended up with surgeon #3, Dr. Michael N. Polinsky, St. Lukes hospital, and highly recommend him for back surgery. He not only fixed me ten years ago, but this surgery has alleviated all my sciatic pain.