Looking for patients with positive results after spinal stenosis surgery..

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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 255
   Posted 1/18/2012 4:21 AM (GMT -6)   
When I became sick in 2005 my mother came to my rescue and retired early to do what she could for me after my empyema/pneumo and thoracotomy surgery. Now that I sort of have things under control my mother has been diagnosed with spinal stenosis and several herniated disks in her lower back. I had my mother see the Ortho's that have helped me, And they all agree that she needs surgery to clean out the area thats causing the spinal stenosis. She is terrified of having the surgery because she has read so many things that have gone wrong. She has been using Dr GOOGLE and has found all of these horror stories about pt's having failed surgeries. I was just wondering if anybody has had a positive surgery that has made a difference. This was a 3rd opinion and they have all been the same (surgery) She is 69 but in very good health-the only problem is arthritis.. Thanks alot Randy
AVASCULAR-NECROSIS (AVN) in 6 joints. HIPS,KNEE'S and SHOULDERS-Replaced RT shoulder.New left hip 9/8/11 LT shoulder next-then RT hip and both knee's together
Bilateral Empyema-Thoracotomy with Decordication.(Removed the Lining of left lung)Bilat Pneumothorax (2005-2008)
Methadone 90mg's-oxycodone 15mg's Qid-Nucynta 100mg's Tid
Former Respiratory Therapist/Perfusionist

Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 1/18/2012 11:58 AM (GMT -6)   
    Good morning Randy!
         Were sorry to hear of your mothers medical problems, and it sure sounds like you have great respect and love for her.
   One of the things, that I personally think is unhealthy mentally is to look for all the problems with this type of suregey. Don't get me wrong!.... a patient needs to know the risk....but I asure you,....you can find all kinds of horror stories.
      If your mother has had three opinions from surgeons, then she may indeed need it....but again, there are risk involved for everyone. I'm wondering if you both asked the question of what will may happen if she refuses to have it done? What do they say about that?
     It sounds like they want to go in and remove material to make more room for the spinal cord. If I had the choice of either a fusion or a clean up job....I would elect for the clean up by a long shot.
        As you know,...none of us are Dr's here, and we cannot tell you what to do. All surgeries have risk associated with them. I know it's not an easy choice to make...and nobody can asure you a successful out come on it.
   If, there was a chance that no more damage would occur, and her pain could managed with pain med's...well that would be another option. However....Personally for me....the dependancy of pain meds is not a fun road either.
        Good luck to you and your mother, as you decide what to do. Sorry I could not be of much help...but I simply cannot tell you what to do. Everyone is different...she could do just fine...and than again...she could still wind up with pain.
      SE wink
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Weekly Quote!

"Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward."

Post Edited (Screaming Eagle) : 1/18/2012 12:43:52 PM (GMT-7)

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16792
   Posted 1/18/2012 12:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Randy, so sorry to hear of your moms situation. A couple of things I would like to point out to you from seeing so many clients have spinal surgery over a 20 plus year time frame. Yes, there are successful stories out there for people that have back surgery. But, usually in forums such as here many have not done well after surgery for one reason or another.

From a personal standpoint, since stenosis is involved which is narrowing and I feel certain she probably has nerve involvement I would only have a neurosurgeon handle my surgery. Why? Because he is more trained in dealing with the nerve aspect of the surgery, that is one of his specialties. An orthopedic is great for bony structure which is pretty much his specialty. When a neurosurgeon did the surgeries on out clients they had a better recovery and overall outcome. Again, this is my opinion based on watching various types of spinal surgery.

A very good website you may want to visit and even your mom is SpineUniverse.com. This is an accurate and reliable website. I imagine your mom has overkill on websites and this has done nothing but compound her fears. Something to consider is perhaps your mom speaking with the dr and asking if one of his patients that has had the same surgery would be willing to visit with her in the drs office and get info first hand from one of his patients. This is not an uncommon request.

If the herniated disc are causing mechanical problems your mom may need a fusion, this is very common, if she has nerve involvement you run the risk of by not doing anything and ending up with permanent nerve damage that is irreversible. Nerves have to heal on their own, all a dr can do is go in and relieve the pressure caused by the pinched nerve.

There are different techniques and different fusions done by drs. Unfortunately, for Screaming Eagle the type of fusion his surgeon did on him, most drs stopped doing that particular one back in the 80's because of risks and poor outcomes. SE was not aware of this and relied on his PCP to send him to a reputable surgeon.

Your mom has every right to be worried about surgery, but she also needs to have her head on right about it too. The mental outlook towards surgery has a great impact on the recovery. Please keep us posted about your mom and yourself.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 1/18/2012 2:22 PM (GMT -6)   
I too have spinal stenosis (Moderate) and disc problems (no surgery yet), and I ask that you strongly to consider
Your Mothers pain, if she is in agony to the point she can't move at all, then I'd say consider the surgery...back
surgery is extremely painful to go thru and you really need to consider that and how much pain she'll
be in after surgery...maybe get her into pain management and see if injections can help her, before you
consider something as drastic as surgery and get the best neurosurgeon on this and see what they'd say.
even if it is another opinion...but also, if she doesn't want the surgery, she might not be ready for it,
think on this...I know of people not on here that have had surgery on their backs and have had to
go and have more surgery on their backs, as once surgery, always surgery and that's another thing to consider...
wish this was an easy option here for you and her...many well wishes to you and her and hope you both
can get low pain days...
* So many dx's I could write a book* "It would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 255
   Posted 1/19/2012 6:09 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for all of the replies, The Ortho wants to do the clean out procedure, So that's a plus. She has had many injections from her previous ortho which didn't work that well so he sent her to a pain specialist to get her on the correct medication which does work but certain day's she has a hard time moving around..
I like the idea of a neurologist seeing her. That really makes sense. I really appreciate your time Randy
AVASCULAR-NECROSIS (AVN) in 6 joints. HIPS,KNEE'S and SHOULDERS-Replaced RT shoulder.Left hip 2011
Bilateral Empyema-Thoracotomy with Decordication.(Removed the Lining of left lung)Bilat Pneumothorax (2005-2008)
MED'S-methadone 45mg's Bid---oxycodone 30mg's Bid--nucynta 100mg-Prn
Former Respiratory Therapist/Perfusionist

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 265
   Posted 1/19/2012 6:33 AM (GMT -6)   
From personal experience...I ditto what charteux said...I have nerve damage as well and have had numerous injections(ortho and PM), nerve block (PM), nerves burned twice in the last year and a half (PM) and surgeries (ortho).....I would only do surgery if the pain was completely debilitating and nothing else worked.
I also have Athritis from head to toe too..I really feel for her...I am only 40...I cannot image another 30 years like this...
Praying for a world without pain!  :-)
Mitro-Value Prolapse 77
MVA in May 08
Cervical radiculopathy/Herniated Disc 08
Nerve Damage 08
Migraines 08
Degenerative Disc Disease 09
Cervical osteoarthritis 09
Depression from chronic pain from car accident 09
High Blood Pressure 9/11
GERD 10/11
Reynaud’s Syndrome 11/11
Fibromyalgia 11/11
Psoriasis 12/11
Severe Psoriatic Arthritis 12/11

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 1/19/2012 10:49 AM (GMT -6)   
Even this clean out type surgery, later requires another surgery, followed down the line later by a
possible fusion...Just make sure to look for the top Doctor in your area for her best care a neruosurgeon
that only does back surgery and has a good, patient care...but it might take a couple of months to get
into a top of the line doctor...What Straydog/Susie said she put it out there good....an again
many well wishes to you both with hopes for low pain days...
* So many dx's I could write a book* "It would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

Pharm Girl
New Member

Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 1/19/2012 2:24 PM (GMT -6)   
I would also be interested in hearing of any back surgery successes. My signature below details the dx that I understand, but upon recently re-reading my MRI reports (I have an upcoming appointment with a Neuro-surgeon) I realized there are several dx on the report that I know nothing about. Spinal stenosis is one of them, along with annular tears, and spondylosis, and a hemangioma. The report said I have Degenerative foraminal stenosis at several levels. The disk degeneration is present at the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar levels. Several bulging disks in my neck. (I have noticed a difference in my fine motor skills in my hands which is most distressing as I do calligraphy, draw, and paint as a hobby). Oh, and I have a large ganglion on the right wrist which they want to remove as well. The disk degeneration in the lumbar region is moderate to advanced. It says I have a probable transitional vertebral body at SI and a small disc space at S1-S2. It also says I have facet degeneration present bilaterally and partial effacement of the foraminal fat bilaterally. Small annular tears involving the disc material within the exit foramina on both sides. Borderline spinal canal stenosis is present in conjunction with hypertrophic degenerative changes of posterior elements. Oh, and appear to be a subtle antrolisthesis, appearing to be new.

Geez, I feel like I need to have a medical degree to understand all that. I am starting to research some of it now. I am thinking my doctor wasn't joking when she said the only thing they will be able to do is to put in rods throughout my spine, which she said will decrease my mobility significantly.

I still need to get a thoracic MRI as I was born with scoliosis there... So, has anyone had any success or relief from back or neck surgery?
A higly intelligent, highly pissed-off college graduate with a lot of free time on her hands, now advocating for change to current pain laws and policies, who suffers with TMJ, Cervical Displacement, Scoliosis, Degenerative Disk Disease, Hip Bursitis, Herniated Lumbar Disks, a Pinched Nerve with associated neuropathy, and depression related to the chronic pain.
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