Question about choosing a surgeon

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Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 111
   Posted 11/13/2010 10:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi all,
I'm in the process of choosing a surgeon to perform my upcoming j-pouch surgery. Many of you have stressed the importance of choosing the right surgeon. But should I just worry myself with finding the right surgeon, or should I be heavily concerned with what hospital I will be admitted to afterwards? I feel like this should play a part in my decision in case complications arise afterwards. The reason I ask is that I've had a surgeon recommended to me by my GI, and the surgeon himself seems great, but I'm not a big fan of the hospital he's associated with. They've misdiagnosed me at their ER before so I don't know if I trust them, although maybe I shouldn't judge a hospital by their ER...
Hope you're all doing well!
Diagnosed with UC in 2007
Flare in 2007 causing anemia requiring blood transfusions, eventually controlled by asacol and 6MP.
Flared again in 2009 as 6MP lost effectiveness, went on TPN and had several blood transfusions. Started Remicade, which induced remission.
Flaring again now as Remicade has lost effectiveness; J-pouch surgery has been recommended to me, seeking a surgeon at this time.

Bay Area Guy
Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 301
   Posted 11/13/2010 10:46 PM (GMT -6)   
I think both are equally important. I had to go into the ER of a hospital close to me when I had acute stomach pains. The hospital was not the one that my primary care physician is associated with, but I had had a very good experience in 2004 when my intestines got tangled. This time, I had a volvulous, where my intestines twisted 540 degrees and shut themselves off. I had to have 18 inches of my colon removed (luckily, according tot he GI doctor I had, there was extra intestine in there anyway) and had a temporary ileostomy for about 2-1/2 months. My surgeon was exceptional, but the hospital was even better. I unfortunately had to make use of the hospital twice before my reconnection, once for acute dehyrdation and once for pneumonia. I was treated very well with the initial emergency surgery, and very well for each of the subsequent visits. I lost my mom two months ago to colon cancer that had spread to her liver and I can assure you that her hospital was no where near as good as the one I was in. In fact, I wanted to move her, but she didn't want to change.

So, I'd shop for the combination of the best surgeon you can find along with the best hospital.

If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'd suggest either Dr. Pamela Foster or Dr. Randall Wong in Burlingame, and Mills Peninsula Hospital in Burlingame is outstanding.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 2396
   Posted 11/14/2010 4:57 AM (GMT -6)   
I've heard the surgeons at UCSF are excellent. Heard very good things about Dr. Verma. Maybe post this on

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 5975
   Posted 11/14/2010 9:22 AM (GMT -6)   
     I agree with Bay Area Guy.  I live in south Jersey but wouldn't even consider going to a hospital in my area for major surgery.  I know at least three people, one who lost his life after hip replacement surgery, two others who came extremely close to death, but for the fact they were transported to University of Pa. Hospital in Philadelphia escaped with their lives after the doctors in the south Jersey hospitals gave up on them.
     My GI is here in south Jersey.  He treated my UC for twelve years.  When all treatments failed, he still refused to send me to a colorectal surgeon.  His advise was to send me over to the Univ of Pa Hospital AGAIN to see a "world reknown" GI specialist.  It would be my second visit over to see this guy and he didn't offer me any new options in the first place.  All failed, 6MP for eight years, Remicade and Humira.  I had become prednisone dependent and decided...enough already.  So, I took matters into my own hands and looked online for colorectal surgeons in Philly.  It was a toss-up between Dr. Rambou and Dr. Fry.  Rambou was deleted because he left Univ of Pa Hospital and went to Temple.  My husband worked at Temple for 34 yrs and it is in a very bad area.  Plus the fact the nurses were on strike at the time I was interested in the surgery.  Dr. Fry had served his residency at the Cleveland Clinic, is head of colorectal surgery at Univ. of Pa Hospital in Philly and had years of experience.  I had no trouble obtaining an appointment.  He would not do a jpouch on me...two age (63) and the fact I had been on prednisone for at least two years.  He said the stress of the surgery would be too much for me.  I told him I had no problem with wearing a "bag".     I had the surgery on June 28th.  While no walk in the park, I did have some minor complications and I still have some "issues".  I am waaaay better than before my operation.  The only medicine I take is 25 mgm of Toprol for my blood pressure.  Before surgery, I took 17 - 25 pills a day plus those rectal meds, as my problem was proctitis.
     So sorry I got carried away  Good luck and God bless.

Equestrian Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3115
   Posted 11/15/2010 6:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Both are important but make sure that the surgeon you choose has PLENTY of experience with the procedure. Ask if they have patients that might be willing to share their experiences (surgery as well as time on the nursing floor)...they are usually honest!
Crohn’s dx 1989
some terrible years before my
temporary ileo in 2001
Proctocolectomy w/end ileo in 2008
...wish I knew then what I know NOW!
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