Is this normal? Spinal laminectomy

Is it normal to have surgery booked after a short phone call with a surgical fellow outlining what surgery is being offered? Is it crazy to think that I might want an in-person appointment where the doctors show me my scans and explain exactly what the procedures they are suggesting entail? I’m finding it a bit crazy that I need ask for this appointment.

The same thing happened with my mastectomy and reconstruction – I ended up booking an extra appointment so that my surgeon could go over what my scars would look like. I wanted to know what to expect so that I could prepare for it. I didn’t want to wake up and be shocked by it.

I now have a date for back surgery – January 2nd. Luckly, the surgery will not be a fusion of my spine. I had a call with the surgical fellow who said something about a double laminectomy – Spine-Health has a great video that explains what a laminectomy of the lumbar spine is. In addition to the laminectomy, they are proposing a discectomy for the herniated disc. The spine-health video shows the minimally invasive discectomy, however, I don’t think that is what is planned, as they will already be in the area for the laminectomy, so if I understand it correctly, they would have access to the disk already and wouldn’t need to open a new incision. I think the lumbar laminectomy video by Blausen is closer to what would happen in my case.

It just seems odd to me that a surgery this serious would not involve more detailed consultation. I wonder if it is just that people put blind faith in their doctors and are not so concerned? I just don’t get it. I want more information. That being said, I also want the surgery date that they have given me. The window for healing is ideal as it is in the window where I’m not teaching, so I can focus on healing and writing my dissertation.

And so now I’m waiting to hear back – and find out when I’ll have that appointment where we run through the details of the surgery, and I can see my scans and picture it within my specific context. I’m guessing that I just misunderstood and that the nurse just forgot to tell me that there would be a follow up appointment. Either way, I’m not going into surgery without one.

Did you have a detailed consultation before surgery? Did you need to ask for additional appointments with your surgeons or their support staff (fellow, physician assistant, or nurse)?

Feature image by BruceBlaus [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons.

  • Becky

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