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Did we need it? Or do we want it?

dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,072
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Matters of the Heart
I have found that talking with members over the years that there is a fine line between:

Do we need to have it (a surgery)
De we want to have it!

Sounds a bit crazy doesnt it? But you would be surprised that there are many folks that after having some spinal problems and surgeries look for reasons to have more!.

I've seen MRI's that dont support what someone is saying, I've read things that clearly indicate that the person really wants to have another surgery. A couple of years ago, we had someone here that had some spinal problems and surgeries like many of us. But they had a mission. They wanted to have MORE surgeries and have MORE problems than other people have.

I believe most of us who have experienced spinal surgery will do whatever is necessary to avoid another one. I can not understand, nor do I really want to understand why some people want more spinal surgeries!

It gets to the point where some folks may say or document things do not make sense, or that they seem so far fetched in the scope of medical conditions. Or to the extreme, when a person has a MRI and the report comes back clean, they are not happy and want another MRI and another and another until the report comes back bad.

I do believe that most people, if not 99% of the people I come in contact with only want to be pain free and avoid any additional surgery.


  • Welcome home Ron. Hope vacation went well!

    In ref: of wanting surgery or needing surgery! I would hope every dr would refuse to do surgery if it was not needed, But who knows,

    If anyone has surgery thats not realy needed but dr was talked in to it, they need to see a shrink, Thats a fact,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Ron,

    Interesting subject, and I do think it is a important question and is more a rhetorical question? I think anyone can doctor shop enough that they will find someone some place to operate on them, if they continue to look. The one thing someone forgets is surgery is no magic pill and can make someone worse, and if done for the wrong reasons may not even address the pain issues.

    I think it is crucial for a doctor to find the pain generator before proceeding to any surgery. But we all know that there are doctors whom may not do this. There is also the psuedo effect of surgery, that can happen. I will never forget the member whom said sense they couldn't have surgery they wouldn't post any longer, as they were to jealous. Sadly they wanted surgery no matter what the doctor was suggesting. Sure there are cases that doctors won't operate and then they see another surgeon and they will and the person gets better. But as I said above the exact opposite could happen that one wakes up in worse shape than they started in.

    I just finished arguing last week for a injection in place of being sent back to the surgeons, as i am no where near ready for surgery, just need a break with the pain, is all, and hopefully reset the pain clock.
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  • Well this is kind of interesting, Like what js the fine line between dr shoping and simply geting a 2nd or posibly 3 rd or even 4 th opinion?

    How will you ever know if you know you have some pain issues and you go from dr to dr and 1 finaly agrees that his idea of whats causing the pain is finaly the answer, Even if other dr,s did not agree or seen it,

    So the problem becomes its easier to believe a dr who says he can help then a dr who offers up nothing,

    I guess the smartest thing would be is to find at least 2 dr,s that agree on the same surgery. But i think by the time most of us find at least 1 dr who offers up something, we are already wore out from geting opinions and suffering with our pain so surgery becomes an easy sale,

    If its a surgery thats realy not going to help someone and dr does it anyways, I cant realy blame the patient for the dr,s actions, After all a patient is just a patient,

    Bottom line is when you are in pain you go to dr to dr wanting answers and a fix,
    Its each dr,s job to refuse it of surgery is not going help anything,

    But if a patient after geting many opinions and finaly 1 dr says ok i can help, Who can realy say for sure this was now a big mistake, No Patient can posibly know this,
    If they kept looking for a dr to help its posible they finaly got a dr to agree to something thats not realy needed, But of course you want to believe this dr is smarter then the other dr,s because at least he is offering you hope,

    But sure when a person says i need surgery even when every dr is saying no you dont, thats just simply nuts,

    But as i said there is a fine line what is just simply geting many opinions and what is looking for a dr to do a surgery that you dont need,

    And nobody in the world will know what that fine line is, because its the drs responsibility not the patients,

    If you call someone out because you think your furnace is broke but its working fine, Then its the furnace guys job not to fix it and tell you it dont need fixing,

    So whats the leson learned from this story?

    If your dr cant fix your spine, Call him maybe he can fix your furnace,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • This is a really interesting topic. You all know what my predicament is at the moment, so know that in the coming months, this is going to be a question that I'll be facing. I don't want another surgery. That's a fact. Even with my arm the way it is, and the pain I have, I still don't even know if I need it. Do I have permanent damage? I have had some improvement, but none in the past couple of months. At this point I really don't know what to do, and as you know am waiting for my 2nd and 3rd opinions. I think it's important to get the other opinions so that you have them to weigh all information and pros and cons. Unless of course, you are just doctor shopping and looking for that answer that you want to hear. It's a hard call. If 2 doctors say no, and a 3rd says yes, as Alex says, it's hard to say, is that 3rd one actually better than the other two, or is he a "cowboy" in the OR? That's when it's up to the patient to do their homework and check out the surgeon's history and track record. My personal feeling is it's always better to have an odd number of opinions, you know, for the tie breaker, but the majority rules.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,072
    be educated in terms of spinal conditions, treatments and the various types of surgery.

    If you do not understand whats going on, its almost impossible to make a decision and you will probably say yes to the first opinion.

    An analogy could be.... You know nothing about cars, you bring it in for service. The mechanic tells you
    component X is bad, causing component Y to malfunction, which in turned broke your exhaust pipe.
    Not a major problem, it will cost you only $3,500!
    Well, if you had no idea what they were talking about, you might just go ahead have the work done and pay for it.

    But this is not why I am talking about here. I am talking about educated patients, who understand their situation. But for whatever reason they WANT another surgery. It may even be a medical borderline case, but as has been pointed out here already, if you shop around enough you will find a doctor who will operate.

    Its the mindset I dont understand from people who WANT another surgery. Its easier to understand when its patients who NEED another surgery because of their condition.

    Sometimes, I think those that want it might have more than spinal related problems.

    No spinal surgery, in fact hardly any surgery is a Walk in the Park. There are risks anytime our bodies are opened up.

    For me, if you are going to open me up, there better be a darn good reason for it and the outlook looks promising.
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  • It shouldn't be a big surprise on a website like this one. I think I remember which one Ron means. She had several surgeries. Then the last one she all but said she was on the 7th or so surgeon because none of them would listen... The last one 'listened' and agreed he should do exactly what she said he should do. After all it was obvious to her. That just shows a nut case and another person with no scruples wanting to make a buck.

    We've had one that had surgeries to make sure she could get disability. She didn't want to work. Not uncommon either.

    Why stop there though. Since you're pointing out that craziness exists here. Let's see. There are currently nut cases on here that come in every time they have a meltdown. They should be committed or post on a mental health site, not a spine site. Then those who use spinal problems as the excuse their life has gone bad.

    Why not add the pills to this. That's the glaringly obvious one, not surgeries. How many on here are telling doctors what they "need" when it is what they "want". Some posts are so blatantly drug seeking it's pathetic.

    For the most part there are genuinely honest people here who simply need help. The percentage that are "surgery seekers" pales in comparison to the "drug seekers".

    Let's not forget the ones on here who are just desperate for attention. They overplay their health just to get sympathy and attention.

    Sprinkle in some hypochondriacs who post about every last little thing. There's more of those than surgery seekers too.

    Surgery seeking here appears to be the least concern, but definitely crazy to do so.
  • lol It sounds like you are talking about my Since he retired he has become a doctors best friend. He has had several major and minor heart procedures that were necessary. He has had carpal tunnel on both hands and knee surgery and eye surgery...these were questionable. He also has a reason to see a doctor at least once a month.

    I think these patients have to be very trying on a doctors patience :)

    In his case I think it is a combination of boredom and attention seeking. There is always a hint of cause behind his problems. But are these things that really justify surgery?

    My experience has been somewhat different. I have had several surgeries in my life, some necessary and some more elective. But I think I had them because the benefits outweighed the risks. 30 years ago I had hammer toe surgery. The benefit was a personal one of having straighter toes that fit better in shoes. I could have lived with it but it made many things easier and better for me so it was worth a few weeks of discomfort. 8 years ago I had knee surgery because I had a shattered knee cap. This was more necessary because of the level of pain but I could have waited or skipped it. In my mind it was better to "fix" the problem. My spine surgery was unusual and it took several doctors before I found one who would do the surgery. No one doubted the problem but some would not consider it because of the location. Again I felt it was something that needed to be "fixed". This one is probably the biggest question in my mind because the results were not good. But it's easy to look back and see that.

    I think we need to rely on the medical professionals to decide what is needed and what is not. Doctors who perform surgery that is not necessary or appropriate should be punished. Insurance companies often provide this level of approval but they also need to be monitored to make sure they are not just watching their bottom line.

    I've said it before -- If one person says something you should listen and consider. If two people say the same thing you need to stop and think really hard. If more people say the same thing you are probably wrong and better figure out why.
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,361
    It's funny you should say that Ron. I was just talking with my sister the other day and she told me I should go see Dr X, an orthopedic surgeon and find out what's wrong with my back. I told her I would but I'd be afraid he'd either want to do surgery or think I wanted him to! First and foremost I'd just like to know what the heck causes this pain!

    I do understand what you're saying though. I know people like that and also remember who you're referring to here. I don't get it either.

  • I think I know who you are talking about Graham. Haven't seen her for a while on here though either?

    I know myself that I had at least 4 (turned out to 6) opinions before my surgery. I knew at around 4.5 months that something wasn't right from my additional levels fusion, but was blown off by my surgeon.

    I went back to my original Neurologist, and when he saw (?) [didn't tell me what], I was once again blown off. At that point I went the surgery route for my opinions. Thanks to the various tests I was sent through, it was pretty obvious that there were issues of non union, but that was all. A dear friend on here suggested I go to an Orthopedic spine surgeon who was specialized in complex spine revisions/reconstructions vs the Neuro side of the house.

    Thanks to him (Dave-Metalneck) not only did he confirm I was a mess with a non-union, but that I had a pseudo joint where my fusion should have been, and destabilized the whole shibang. I bring this up, as you can see by my avatar, I ended up with instead of a 3 level redo, a 5 level posterior with lamies. Now...

    Need/want/ After all this, I was pretty much where I *had* to have surgery, else risk paralysis or even death if I fell or had a moderate car (impact) accident - not the kind of life anyone should have to worry with. Additionally this surgery stopped the progression of myelopathy, and was to also re-stabilize my vertebra/neck. So, I am one that in the end needed it, and yep....wanted it to have my life back.

    So I guess the need/want should be used more judiciously is my feelings here. I wouldn't wish this surgery and recovery on my worse enemy, but too will not be made to feel bad that in the end I wanted it to help secure what level of life my spine is at, and the security of my life that I can fall like Joe yahoo and not be in a chair due to it.

    Just my two cents... :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi brenda. How the hell are ya? Glad you out of surgery and hope all is going well,

    Z06. Oh oh graham is on to me lol. I seriously cant tell often on some posts whats there real issue. If it is just drugs or not. Its very hard to make it out sometimes,
    But when medical condition is not mentioned just drugs drugs drugs then i become a litle weary,

    In many cases there is no way to realy know what a persons issue is all around because there posts is all over the map and many times i just cant make it out when they mention every condition known to man kind,

    Many people here now talk more in medical term then my dr, Its way over my head in many cases and i think a rather keep it that way, I dont want to make it my life to understand it all because i am not planing on being a dr and i am realy not willing to corrupt my brain needing to know all the terms,

    I have my own pain to deal with rather then understanding every condition known to man kind,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
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