Friday, September 14, 2007

It would be nice to hear the TRUTH!!!

I walked out of a spine surgeon's office about nine months ago not believing what he had just told me. I had pretty much made up my mind to have another surgery, this time a fusion of L4-L5 and L5-S1 discs. As I started to leave I ask him if he was sure that this would help me. He replied and I quote "Sure, you will feel so good that you will come back for another one". I couldn't believe what he had just said.
I looked at him and replied "in your dreams". This doctor is supposed to be one of the best minimal invasive surgeons in the country but I have done to many years of research on spine surgery to believe a statement like that. It seemed totally out of character for a professional and I never went back to him.

What ever happened to True Informed Consent. I will tell you where it is, it has fallen by the wayside by many Spine Surgeons. To be fair and thanks to the internet not all surgeons are this way. There are many good and ethical surgeons that are up-in-arms about things such as this. That is why a group of surgeons have started theAssociation for Ethics in Spine Surgery.

"In a study published in WebMD done by a group of Surgeons at Switzerland's University of Lausanne Medical Centre, Dr. Bertrand Graz and his colleagues state that "Doctors overly Optimistic about back surgery". In their study a total of 197 patients were included for back surgery. Prior to operating, their surgeons were asked to predict how much surgery would improve their patients quality of life. The surgeons predicted that 79% of patients would have "a great deal of improvement" and 20% would have "moderate improvement". A year later when questioned, 56% of the patients reported no significant improvement in their
health. The article went on to say that this was not the first study that surgery is not the cure-all for low back pain that many patients think it is, or the first to suggest that surgeons do a poor job of predicting which patients will benefit the most from back surgery."

My own personal feelings after having three surgeries, I don't think there are any cures for spinal problems at the present time. Maybe someday there will be. In the mean time the pain goes on.


Creative Blogger said...

Have you tried accupuncture, I referred a pal of mine to a specialist I knew and after 10yrs of pain he was pain free after one session.

I'm not saying this could work for you but it's worth a try. Go by reputation for success not price.

Jason L. Harris, PT, DPT said...

I agree that many surgeons overlook the poor outcomes of spine surgery. Specifically fusions.

Often times it "yep, good fusion, good alignment, good surgery". But, the patient is still in pain.

Thankfully, many surgeons around my area are treating fusion as a last resort. And, I think, those people will do better in the long run.

Thank you for the informative blog.

Jerry said...

Thank you Jason for your kind remarks.

monkeyboy said...

noooooowwwwww you want "informed consent"---
my dear, if there were such a noble thing, the bastards would be out of the lucrative business they so zealously guard with de/illusions of grandeur...
as much as is known about the human body, treble if not quadruple that amount and you may have an idea of how much they do not know.
i have long since despaired of finding a surfeit of true practitioners of the healing arts---they are either corrupted by greed, shackled by ineptitude, or cloaked with such detachment they no longer hear nor care for the true plight of the patient.
i bear much enmity for the ineptitude that passes for care, the closing and silencing of the ranks when called to accountability, and the endless shielding of such by lawyers who are paid to protect such slovenly 'practice'.
add to such a morass the interference in dr/pt relationships by the dea, lack of inclusion of pain and its disease processes in the education of young doctors, lack of independent (unaided by 'big pharma') research into the disease of chronic pain, and in the and you have a veritable impenetrable wall to decent care to the millions who are now saddled with the seemingly intractable disease.
'informed consent' indeed.
its damn near oxymoronic.