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cardiomyopathy with pending spinal fusion. Can it be done?

am a 45 yr old female who suffers from severe to crippling pain due to a back injury.  I am here to get some advice on Orthopedic Surgeons vs. NeuroSurgeons to do the spinal fusion that 3 different doctors have suggested I have done.  I have always been a very active... [More] person, but for the past 4 years my life has almost come to a complete stop in my daily activities.  I don't take any pain medication for my condition because it only masks the pain and when you stop taking the pain meds it makes you sick.
I have Hepatitis C and have been referred to a Hepatologist for consult, testing and treatment.
I recently found out that I have a severe arrythmia as well as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  Six weeks ago I had to have a ICD implanted.  My ICD has pacemaker capabilities but was actually implanted to prevent sudden cardiac death.  My Cardiologist says that this is only part 1 of the fix for my heart problems and that I will be looking at more cardiac proceedures down the road.  Since the implantation of my ICD I have not had any problems with the device but often wonder if my spinal fusion can be performed because of my other health issues.  My back pain is so severe that I have basically been bed ridden for months.  If I turn a certain way I scream because of the pain.  I'm here to see what kind of advice I can get for my back pain.  My Neurosurgeon feels that I should treat the Hep. C first and then have the fusion, but I don't think that I can stand to live with the back pain until after the Hep C treatment.  The Neurosurgeon will not see me again until after the Hepatologist does his consult, exam and possible treatment.  I have not taken anything for pain for months now because my Neurosurgeon says it's best to let the Hepatologist determine what the best pain medication for me.  I cannot take Tylenol because of my Hep C, and cannot take an Nsaids due to my stomach ulcers.  I'm here to try to get some good advice as to how to get my life back for I am just to young to be suffering from such severe crippling pain.  Please look at the results from my last MRI.

I have been suffering from severe pain in my lower back for a few years now.  I have recently had an MRI.  The impression on the MRI was as follows. !. L3-L4 disc level showa a 3 mm posterior disc protrusion present. Moderate Hypertrophic facet changes are present. 2. L4-L5 disc level shows a 3mm posterior disc protrusion present. Moderate Hypertrophic facet chages are present.L5-S1 disc level shows a 7 to 8 mm central disc protursion present.  Sisc dessication is present.  Hypertrophic facet changes are present.  Lateral recess stenosis is present, left greater than right.  The possibility of a focal left posterior disc herniation at the l5-S1 level measuring 4mm in thickness cannot be excluded.  There are findings that are suggestive of an annular tear at this level.

I have been to two Orthopeadic Surgeons who have told me that I am a candidate for a spinal fusion.  I then chose to get a second opinion from a Neurosurgeon, he also informed me that I would need a spinal fusion in order to resolve this problem.  I have been told that the only fix for my back injury is to have the spinal fusion surgery.

Speaking with the 2 Ortho surgeons they say that they are the Dr.'s who should fix this problem.  As a Senior Claims Examiner processing California Workers' Compensation claims, I feel that the best Dr. to do a spinal fusion is a neurosurgeon, due to the fact that they are more knowlegable about working around the spinal cord.

Both the Ortho Surgeon and the Neurosurgeon say they can do the surgery.  I suppose my biggest question to you is if you can advise me on which surgeon should I be more confident in to do this spinal fusion, an Orthopaedic Surgeon or the Neurosurgeon?  If you can tell me which surgeon I should go with and why I would sure appreciate some advice.  Thank you for your time.
1 Responses
Avatar universal
I would tend to go with the neuro.  Either one will insist on the cardiac clearance before, and might even want a cardiologist on standby.   The operation itself is not too long, and I am sure you will be fine, and feel so much better.  Best wishes.  AJ Renalli
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