My herniation has increased since last October when I had my first MRIs done, I'm now at 23mm from 14mm and have abnormal csf flow. My NS highly recommends surgery and believes my chiari is causing my headaches and my other neurological issues. He said he wouldn't be offended if I went for a 2nd opinion - but he IS my 2nd opinion, my 1st opinion said I would need surgery eventually when I was at 14mm.
The thing is...I found this NS on my own, (online) because he is part of a large Neuroscience Center affiliated with my local hopsital in the city I live in. The NS and NL my GP recommended me to both turned out to be terrible so I heard so good things about this place from "people that know people" and from online. But I don't know much specifically about my NS...I asked his nurse to find out how many chiari surgeries he has performed and what kind of incision he will make and how much hair he will shave - most pictures and success stories I'm seeing online are from Dr. Oro in Colorado saying that he just took a thin strip of hair in the center of the skull and nearly all of it grew back - whereas I read some other doctors will shave nearly all the back of your head and then the hair won't grow back over the scar.
There were a couple patient reviews on my NS online and he generally had good reviews - his only bad reviews were on his bedside manner, and in my experience most surgeons don't have great bedside manner anyway and so far he's been nice and friendly to me so I will just put that aside for now - what is really important is his skill as a surgeon.
I really can't afford to leave Central Pennsylvania to have the surgery, I need my insurance to cover the costs or I would make the trip up to the New York Chiari Institute.
Any suggestions on what to ask or how to get more comfortable with this NS before I set a date? The tentative date right now is June 26th.
Will he not tell you how many CM cases he has operated on ? Most Dr's I know regardless of the procedure will place you in contact with other patients he has cared for , so you will be more comfortable with the procedure and him. Do you think he or his asst would do this? I have talked to other CM patients for my NS. Also, with a procedure this important... I would ask him why he would be insulted if you got another opinion. Sometimes Dr's have to ck their egos. I know you are concerned over your herniation becoming longer. You have to be comfortable with your NS. It is very important. I really hope everything works out for you. I had my surgeries at Alleghany Gen. in Pittsburgh. Please let me know if you need anything. I really do understand. I saw 52 specialists until I found the "right " one.
Thanks, I just found out about the state board thing, I had no idea, I'm going to look him up now. His nurse called me back and said he's done 2 dozen chiari surgeries over the last 11 years and will shave off the bottom 2inches of my hair which will grow back. The only difficulties he's run into with the chiari surgeries is CSF leak in which the patient has needed to come back for a 2nd surgery in which they get a graft and then have been fine afterward. I feel much more confident with him now, but still am going to look in to him a little more.
His nurse is sooo nice and sweet she seems like she loves her job, I can't imagine he is a bad person or bad boss, but like I said, i need to know his surgery skills, so again I'm going to relook at his resume online on his center's website and check out my state's website and see what I can find.
Poptart, I know exactly what you're saying, I told my husband how when I went to leave the NS office he told his receptionist that I would need to be scheduled for "just a chiari" and the look on my face must have been one of horror because he followed up that comment with "it's really not a big deal"....I guess that's that stellar bedside manner I heard so much about, lol. But he was just so non-chalant about the whole thing that I assume he does way more complicated surgeries than chiari. He has NO marks on his state license and actually, after re-reading everything about him online, the website with all his credentials, I'm feeling really good about him. Thanks everyone!!!
It is imperative that you find out the exact operation he would do. Decompression surgeries differ. And you need to find out how many he's done and how often he does them. I know the hair thing sound important now but it really isn't. It will grow back and the scar will be covered.