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2nd & 3rd opinions

Started by JuvaP on 09/01/2010 1:18am

Hi Everybody,
I'm fairly new to the boards & have been reading lots of posts. Many recommend getting a second or even a third opinion. While I understand the reasons, I have an issue with continuing to live with this excruciating pain any longer than absolutely necessary. Too often it takes months to get an appointment with just one surgeon, if i had to get 2 or 3 other opinions, I'd be looking at close to a year, while my condition is deteriorating.
I was able to get an appoinment with one surgeon for a month down the road, he cancelled the day befor my appointment & set another for yet another month away, only to cancel that one as well, so we were looking at 3 months down the drain. I finally gave up on him & my PCP scheduled steriod injections, which cosisted of a series of 3, scheduled 2 weeks apart. Another 6 weeks.
The shots didn't help, so now I'm waiting for another neurosurgeon to schedule an initial appointment, which may or may not be weeks away. I forgot about the 6 months that my PCP had me on anti-inflamatories & the 6 months prior to even seeking medical advice, that brings us to a year and a half.
I have a bulging dicc at L5-S1, a nerve root cyst at T12-L1, DDD & scoliosis. I've had to cut back to part-time at work & still come home in ecruciating pain. I've been told that surgery is my only option at this point. I can't imagine enduring this for another 6 months while I get second & third opinions, not to mention recovery time after surgery.
Does anybody else feel this way? If so, what other suggestions do you have? Maybe word of mouth?
Thanks in advance for listening & for any input that you can offer.

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3 Responses


The 3rd opinon of a neurosurgeon was really the best decision of my life. I had been dealing with the pain for 3 years (2 herniated discs, C7 C8), but beginning April it was sheer agony. I also had 3 epidurals over 3 years (only 1 helped for a month), and multiple pain meds, but in April i was loosing feeling in my arm and surgery was the only option. I'm 4 weeks post op from 2 level ACDF. my pain is completely gone, just some surgical issues that should clear up in a month or so.
One dr. said go slow with minimally invasive posterior cervical foraminotomy and the 2nd dr. said Artificial disc replacement (1 level). The only reason i got the 3rd opinion was (...i'll be honest) hearing horror stories of failed surgeries and i wanted to make sure i was doing the right thing with an opinion from renowned hospital (I live close to NYC) I wasn't disappointed. This dr. answered my long list of questions before i asked them. He specifically explained why ACDF was right for me, and other alternatives (ADR) was completely not....in essence why i was unique. it was a slam-dunk, i went with him.
I understand your frustration with the cancellations and additional time to get another opinon, but for me it was well worth it and i would recommend it. (my insurance covered all 3 opinions). Research the doctor's credentials (papers, ...etc). I had a NS because of it being Cervical, you might want to look at Orthopedic surgeons. word of mouth is good
Try to get a script for a nerve blocker - gabapentin (that worked for me) or percoset (when you get home) to help you sleep. Hang in there, i know chronic pain. Just my thoughts, i'm certainly no expert in this stuff. best of luck


Some times there are really no choices but the one we fear. I live in a large city where good neurosurgeons are easily accessed. Find out who all the football players go to and it will be a good bet that he or she will be a very good surgeon.


I had a second and third. Every one has a different story to say about me. The second surgeon wanted me to wait a year. The third one thought I should have it done the same day of my first MRI. You really will do what's in your head to start with. My pain management doctor said the three surgeons I want to had about the same success rate. Good luck again Sam